Written Evidence submitted by The Western Fish Producers’ Organisation, More Seafood Ltd, Falfish Ltd, Whitelink Seafood Ltd, Seafood and Eat It, Brixham Trawler Agents (LS0044)


  1. What is the extent and nature of labour shortages currently being experienced in the food supply chain?


  1. What are the factors driving labour shortages in the food supply chain?


  1. What is the outlook for the labour shortage situation in the coming months and years?

The general opinion is that the outlook is bleak. Unless workers from Eastern Europe are incentivised to return, the situation will not improve.

Fish processors now are having to go down the visa sponsorship route to get people from India to come to the UK on visa contracts. This increases the costs to the company, the minimum hourly rate with all costs is £13.5 per hour. In total it will cost £10k in administration costs. It is not cheap labour, and it is more time consuming. On top of this the company must assist with accommodation and might be forced to buy property to make sure there is adequate accommodation because of a lack of rental properties in the southwest.


  1. What other issues are affecting the food supply chain?


  1. What impact will the timetable for introducing physical checks at the border on food and live animal imports from the EU have on the current issues being experienced by the UK food supply chain?

None of the companies represented here import food, they are all exporters.


  1. What measures has the Government taken to alleviate the problems being faced by the food supply chain this year? To what extent have they been successful?

All companies feel that the government has not done much this year to alleviate the labour problems. In seafood, we are dealing with perishable product, so could not use furlough scheme, we had to process the product and worry about margins later.


  1. Does the Government need to take further steps to support the food supply chain?

The government needs to incentivise the UK workforce to go back to work and incentivise people to come back from Europe. There could be a food supply chain visa that is easier and cheaper for employers. The skilled worker visa for fishing crew should be made more appropriate for inshore vessels.


October 2021