The benefits of pet ownership also extend to the Chancellor as the Autumn statement approaches. The Pet Advisory Committee (PAC) using the government’s own figures estimates that pet lovers spent almost £6 billion in 2010 and contributed more than £2 billion a year to the nation’s coffers in taxes.
Additionally there are other less visible benefits that help balance the Chancellor’s books. Independent studies indicate that the health benefits of pet ownership (and around of half of UK households do) effectively save the NHS as much as £1.5 billion a year.
As the Euro crisis deepens, other Finance Ministers in the EU should also take note. Throughout the EU in 2010, owners spent €29 billion on their pets (equating to €12 billion in tax revenues) and social scientists studying the health benefits of pet ownership in Germany estimated savings of €5.5 billion annually.
The Pet Advisory Committee points out that not everything can be reduced to hard cash as chair Tracey Crouch MP says ‘What this research shows is the positive contribution pets and their owners make to the economy and towards a healthy society. While the contribution to the economy is easier to identify, the companionship, interaction and exercise pets can give to their owners, in particular the elderly, and the effect this has on their well-being is of equal worth to individuals and society as a whole”.