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How will seasonal labour shortfalls impact the food supply chain?

15 June 2020

The Environmental, Food and Rural Affairs Committee reopens its call for evidence for its inquiry into Labour in the Food Supply Chain.

The inquiry, which launched in March, will determine the impact of a new points based immigration system on the sectors most likely to be affected by when the UK leaves the EU at the end of 2020. The inquiry will also investigate how Government promises to invest in UK skills will compensate for the projected shortfall in workers from abroad.

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The difficulties presented by shortfalls in seasonal labour have been highlighted recently as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, demonstrating the need to rapidly address possible issues before the UK leaves the EU in December. The Committee is therefore calling for additional evidence from food producers, processors, workers' unions, veterinary surgeons and the horticulture sector in answer to the following questions:

  • What impact will the Government's proposed points-based immigration system have on labour in the food supply chain? Which sectors will be most affected by a reduced ability to recruit from abroad?
  • Will investment in staff retention, productivity, technology and innovation compensate for the Government not implementing an immigration route for “lower skilled workers”?
  • What impact has the Seasonal Workers pilot scheme had on agriculture and horticulture? What should be the future of the scheme, including whether it should cover more, or different, agricultural and horticultural sectors?
  • How many seasonal workers are required in agriculture and horticulture each year, and how can this demand be reasonably met from 2021? 

Further information

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