NFU Horticulture and Potatoes Board Chair Martin Emmett has commented on the urgency around the supply of seasonal workers and the pressing need for government commitment to the sector.
He wrote: “Amid a plethora of issues facing the industry at this moment in time, one with the most immediate concern is the supply of seasonal workers. My own businesses have been severely impacted, and I know I’m not alone in saying it.”
“At the beginning of the year, we had the breakthrough of a seasonal worker permit scheme which is in place for three years with an initial cohort of 30,000 visas and a possible further 10,000 to be released subject to demand. Eventually, it emerged that the minimum pay rate would have to be set at £10.10 per hour, a factor contributing to extreme the cost price inflation that we are now facing.”
“Now, in mid-June, we are experiencing a war in Europe, and the NFU is urging the government to take every measure possible to mitigate against its consequences. In the context of labor, we need to avoid unnecessary delays in visa processing, and we need all the extra 10,000 permits to be allocated now. As I write, we are meeting farming minister Victoria Prentis to press home this urgency. “