With the 2021 fruit and vegetable season already underway, a cross-party committee has criticised the UK government’s ’last minute approach’ to finalising of its recruitment scheme for overseas seasonal workers.
The Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Select Committee has also repeated its call for the Seasonal Worker Pilot scheme which this year has been extended to 30,000 places, to be broadened to include other food supply chain and agricultural sectors beyond edible horticulture.
The committee said it was concerned about recent evidence of shortages of skilled workers, especially Official Veterinarians (OVs) working in abattoirs. Neil Parish, chairman of the committee, said: "It is now May, with peak harvesting season almost upon us.”
British Growers have been placed at the bottom of the Home Office’s priorities list, and the unnecessary uncertainty could prove costly for producers. Despite last year’s Pick for Britain pilot scheme, our report made it clear that overseas labour is still very much needed.