Foot-and-mouth hits one in five companies

The survey of more than 300 FDs also confirmed that the impact of the disease is being felt beyond businesses immediately connected with farming.

Sectors as diverse as television production, retail, leisure and advertising are already feeling the pinch.

‘Golf courses have closed down so they aren’t buying any products from us,’ said Tim Allen, FD of Seoul Nassau UK.

Another FD said: ‘We cannot go on site to complete any installations or carry out any service work.’ One commented: ‘Prices to farmers are going down, but prices to supply our company are going up. Somewhere in the chain someone is making a profit from others’ distress.’

But 74% of those questioned said the crisis had not yet hit their business, while a further 5% remained neutral.

Some were unhappy with authorities’ handling of foot-and-mouth. Chris Baldwin, FD of the Godfrey Hall Group, said: ‘The government has yet again proven itself to be totally inept in its handling of a crisis that has struck at the very hearts of businesses and communities in this country.’

‘We’re a City-based firm, so not as yet affected,’ said one FD. Another commented: ‘Our customers will be affected if it goes on long-term, but there is no short-term knock-on effect.’

One FD said the crisis was actually helping business. ‘We produce labels for meat and fish produce so supply is great for fish labels at the moment,’ he said.


Related reading