FAST food giant McDonald’s has said the company and its suppliers are worth £4m a year to the Bournemouth economy.

It published an independent report to mark its 40th anniversary in the UK, at the same time as announcing plans to create 8,000 jobs nationwide over the next three years.

McDonald’s opened its first Bournemouth restaurant on Old Christchurch Road in 1983. There are now four in the area, employing more than 250 people.

The report Serving the UK: McDonald’s at 40 was produced by Development Economics to assess the over-all contribution McDonald’s has made to the economy since November 1974.

It found the business and its supply were worth an estimated £2.5bn a year to the UK economy.

Bournemouth franchisee Tony Bennett began his McDonald’s career in 1984 and runs 10 restaurants across Bourne-mouth, Winchester, Basingstoke, Swaythling and Eastleigh, employing almost 600 people.

He said: “I am firm a believer that you need to be part of a community to be successful in that community.

“As such I am passionate about giving young people especially the chance to get workplace experience.

“We have a fantastic education programme in place that we have worked hard to build.

“This means that all of my people – from a crew member starting out in their first job to a restaurant manager – have the chance to learn whilst they earn.

“My ambition is to continue the great work that my teams are already doing in Bournemouth, from daily litter patrols to supporting larger scale community events for many more years to come.”