By Laura Kemp • 11 June 2021 • 13:00
FARMERS in the UK are in trouble as Brexit has caused a “massive hole” in the numbers of people going over to pick fruit. Image - Pixabay
FARMERS in the UK are in trouble as Brexit has caused a ‘massive hole’ in the numbers of people going over to pick fruit in the summer months, allegedly putting growers ‘on the brink’.
The number of seasonal workers applying to pick fruit at a Kent-based company are down by 90 per cent in the last two years, causing fears for the future, The Evening Standard reports.
Stephen Taylor, managing director of Winterwood Farms Ltd, said the labour market has become “tighter and tighter” over the last couple of years. He added that the impact of Brexit has caused a decrease in the flow of workers to UK farms and that it will only get worse.
A spokesperson from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) said the government will “always back our farmers and growers” and make sure that producers across the UK have the support and workforce that they need.
But speaking to the PA news agency, Mr Taylor said: “95 per cent of all fruit and produce picked and packaged in this country is done by eastern Europeans.
“From the end of June, people who haven’t got pre-settled status, at least, can’t work.
“We are not talking about a few tens of thousands, we are talking hundreds of thousands of people less to work in the UK.
“That’s a massive hole.
“We are right at the brink now,” he said.
“If we want the Brits to do that work they need to be mobile,” he added.
“We are taking back control, as Boris would say, but when we are taking back control, we are actually deliberately throttling our own businesses because we know the thing we haven’t got control of is labour.
“The solution is for the government to recognise the fact that these people, they come and they go back home, so they don’t have any recourse to public funds.”
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Originally from UK, Laura is based in Axarquia and is a writer for the Euro Weekly News covering news and features.
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