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‘Scottish soft fruit sector should be compensated by UK government’

According to claims by the Scottish government, the UK government should compensate soft fruit farmers facing financial problems as a result of labor shortages. These shortages have been blamed for crops being left on the vine, leaving growers out of pocket to the tune of almost £2 million.

The UK government introduced a seasonal agricultural workers scheme after leaving the EU – but it was described by MPs, MSPs, business owners, and workers groups as too small in scale. At Holyrood on Thursday, North East Fife Lib Dem MSP Willie Rennie called for details of financial support for businesses afflicted by the labor crisis.

The Lib Dems called for the Scottish and UK Governments to work together to stem the crisis, as well as a relaxation on working visas in the wake of the Covid pandemic. quoted a UK government spokesperson as saying: "The UK has a highly resilient food supply chain – which has coped well in responding to unprecedented challenges. This year we expanded the Seasonal Workers Pilot to 30,000 visas for workers to come to the UK for up to six months."

"We continue to work closely with industry to understand labor demand and supply, including both permanent and seasonal workforce requirements. However, we want to see employers make long-term investments in the UK domestic workforce instead of relying on labor from abroad, and our Plan for Jobs is helping people across the country retrain, build new skills and get back into work."

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