McDonald’s and its suppliers make a combined contribution of £3.5m a year to the Carlisle economy, according to an independent report commissioned by the fast-food giant to mark 45 years of operating in the UK.

Without including its supply chain, the report states that in 2017 alone McDonald’s directly generated more than £2.9m in the city, employing 205 people.

McDonald’s has two restaurants in Carlisle: at Scotch Street in the city centre and at Kingstown Retail Park on its northern edge.

A third is due to open soon on the former J&W Watt goods yard off London Road.

The report - Serving the UK: McDonald’s at 45 - was researched by Development Economics to understand McDonald’s impact on the UK economy since it started operating here in 1974.

It looks at the company’s contribution to UK cities through jobs created in restaurants and the wider economic impact through its supply chain.

McDonald’s has more than 1,200 restaurants in the UK, 86 per cent of which are run by franchisees. These include Chris Nicholls, who operates 11 McDonald’s in Cumbria and Lancashire.

He said: “The fact that we have been able to make a significant financial contribution to the area is something my team and I are very proud of.

“There’s no such thing as a typical 9-5 at my restaurants. We know that people take a job with McDonald’s for all sorts of reasons, from wanting to earn some extra cash while studying to needing a flexible job that fits around childcare. That’s why it’s so important to us that we offer our employees flexible working options.”

Carlisle city councillor James Bainbridge said: “I don’t think anyone can deny the success of McDonald’s. They’ve been at the forefront of their field for decades and always manage to come up with something new, which everyone else then tries to catch up.

“Every town and city needs a few places on the high street that can attract footfall. You only have to pass McDonald’s on a Saturday to see it does that in spades.

“I only wish that as McDonald’s enters the next 45 years, as well as its slick marketing and operations, it could work harder at tackling the litter it produces, particularly along places like the CNDR [Carlisle’s western bypass].

“As anyone who has ever had to pick litter up from the side of the road will tell you, a good portion of it came from a McDonald’s.”

McDonald’s cites its involvement in anti-litter campaigns, with Mr Nicholls’s teams organising litter picks around its restaurants and a beach clean-up in Whitehaven.

Serving the UK: McDonald’s at 45 says that the company and its supply chain is worth an estimated £3.36 billion a year to the UK economy.

McDonald’s has yet to announce an opening date for its London Road restaurant, which will be open between 6am and 11pm and includes a drive-through. The company also has restaurants in Penrith, Workington and Whitehaven.

During the past two years some McDonald’s workers around the country have gone on strike, partly over pay. The company’s hourly starting rates are £6 for under-18s, £6.85 for those aged 18-20, and £8.31 for over-21s.

These include pay rises which came into effect last January and were automatically applied only to staff at company-owned branches. McDonald’s said it would recommend the increases to franchisees.

The Government-set minimum wage is currently £4.35 an hour for under-18s, £6.15 for 18-20-year-olds, £7.70 for those aged between 21-14, and £8.21 for over-25s.