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Labour shortages in the food and farming sector

Inquiry

There have been reports of labour shortages affecting some businesses throughout the food and farming sector, for example:

  • farms have been unable to hire all the seasonal workers they need to harvest food (and pick other crops such as flowers);
  • businesses in the food and drink processing sector – the country’s largest manufacturing sector – have seen their output fall due to recruitment problems;
  • shortages of HGV drivers, who provide the vital linkages within the food supply chain;
  • some empty shelves at supermarkets & local stores and some menu items being unavailable at restaurants, which have had impacts for consumers.

The reasons are complex: Brexit following the end of the Transition Period on 31 December - including the introduction of the Government’s new immigration policy - and the covid-19 pandemic in particular are often cited, but are other factors also at play, and are the causes temporary or permanent?

This inquiry will explore what is causing labour shortages, and the impact on the food and farming sector both now and in the future.

It will also ask what other factors are affecting the food supply chain. This is likely to focus on the new post-Brexit trading relationship with the EU, including the latest impact of additional red tape and checks at the border since 1 January 2021 on businesses exporting food (and other “Sanitary and Phytosanitary”, or SPS, goods) to the EU. The inquiry will also consider the Government’s latest delay to introducing border controls and checks for SPS imports from the EU, including the effect on the competitiveness of British businesses.

Read the call for evidence for more information about this inquiry.

This inquiry is no longer accepting evidence

The deadline for submissions was Friday 15 October 2021.

Reports, special reports and government responses

View all reports and responses
Fourth report - Labour shortages in the food and farming sector
Inquiry Labour shortages in the food and farming sector
Committees Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee
HC 713
Report
Response to this report
Second special report - Labour shortages in the food and farming sector: Government Response to the Committee’s Fourth Report of Session 2021–22
HC 412
Government Response

Oral evidence transcripts

View all oral evidence transcripts
14 December 2021
Inquiry Labour shortages in the food and farming sector
Witnesses Home Office, and Home Office
Committees Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee
Oral Evidence
16 November 2021
Inquiry Labour shortages in the food and farming sector
Witnesses Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, and Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Committees Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee
Oral Evidence
9 November 2021
Inquiry Labour shortages in the food and farming sector
Witnesses Bank of England, Migration Observatory, and University of York
Committees Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee
Oral Evidence
LS0095 - Labour shortages in the food and farming sector
Witnesses British Meat Processors Association
Committees Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee
Written Evidence
LS0071 - Labour shortages in the food and farming sector
Witnesses Cranswick Plc
Committees Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee
Written Evidence
LS0093 - Labour shortages in the food and farming sector
Witnesses British Poultry Council
Committees Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee
Written Evidence

Contact us

We can’t usually help you with an individual problem or a specific complaint.

  • Email: efracom@parliament.uk
  • Phone: (General Enquiries) 020 7219 1119 / (Media Enquiries) 020 7219 3279
  • Address: Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee, House of Commons, London, SW1A 0AA