NFU Scotland calls for urgent action on tackling the labour crisis

From NFU Scotland:

NFU Scotland has written to the UK Government calling for immediate action as the labour crisis affecting the agricultural, food and drink sectors deepens.

In its letter to Kevin Foster MP, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State and Minister for Future Borders and Immigration, NFU Scotland’s specific asks are:

  • Introduce a 12-month covid recovery visa for the food and drink supply chain to deal with immediate pressures on the industry and allow employers to expand recruitment to EU and other overseas workers.
  • Commission an urgent review by the Migration Advisory Committee on the needs of the agricultural, food and drink sectors.
  • Review the Seasonal Workers Pilot (SWP) scheme and replace it with an improved permanent scheme that works for both farm businesses and seasonal migrant workers. 
  • A firm commitment from the UK Government to help secure a future workforce for the long term.

In the past week, NFU Scotland joined with other Scottish food and drink organisations in writing to the UK and Scottish governments calling for urgent action on tackling the labour crisis in the industry ahead of the crucial Christmas season –

Highlighting the huge losses that some companies are experiencing, Scottish vegetable co-op East of Scotland Growers used NFU Scotland’s website blog last week to describe how labour and haulage issues had already seen four million heads of broccoli and cauliflower wasted – 

NFU Scotland President Martin Kennedy said: “I urge the UK Government to act. The concerns that I raise on behalf of farmers in Scotland are echoed by farming, food and drink organisations across the UK. I am in no doubt that without action, the current disruption will only worsen.

“A shortage of both permanent and seasonal workers, combined with a lack of haulage drivers and processing staff, is seriously impacting agricultural, food and drink businesses across Scotland.

“The implications of this ongoing shortage for business and the economy have been steadily building and the impact can no longer be absorbed by farmers and the food and drink industry. The ramifications are already in plain sight, focussed on empty supermarket shelves, and the impacts are now being felt by consumers.

“NFU Scotland calls on the UK Government to take immediate action on labour to ensure that agriculture can continue to sustainably produce high quality food and drink for our country and our exports. This is vital for our farmers, rural communities, the wider supply chain and for our consumers.”  Ends  

5 thoughts on “NFU Scotland calls for urgent action on tackling the labour crisis

  1. The stock WM response is that producers (or distribution companies) should recruit from the local market (ie Brits). The problems with this include
    1. are there enough Brits qualified to do the work and who will do the work for the wages offered?
    2. if not, how long will it take to train Brits to do the work? In some jobs a morning might be enough, but a lorry driver (for instance – and that’s before we get to shortages of doctors and nurses)??
    3. will we be willing to pay the additional prices and taxes to pay the higher wages which in many cases will be necessary?
    That said WM isnt actually stupid – they know about the above as well as anyone. Their problem is that they cannot really say anything else or the whole Brexit policy is seriously damaged (at best).
    Then there is the possibility of a double whammy since Covid policy seems directed at not allowing the hospitals to be overwhelmed – but its acceptable to be ill with Covid at home. If this rips through the community over the next few months then sickness absence is going through the roof. Tip – if you want a Christmas turkey, make room in the freezer and buy it now.


  2. Do they honestly believe Westminster
    Will backtrack and help
    Read their Vile History
    Deliberately keeping warehouses full of grain locked and under armed guard
    Whist millions starved to death in numerous famines in India and Ireland
    These very same people invented and built the worlds 1st concentration camp
    Leopards can’t change their spots
    And these old dogs will never ever learn
    Self interest and mainly money is all that
    Concerns them
    For a short term in Westminster history
    They were a welfare state from 1950 to 1980
    But from then on have reverted back to being what they truly are
    A War State
    Even Afghanistan now has them scrambling around delusionally seeking
    A amended role all in order to attack those weaker than themselves
    And by Gawd little do they realise how weak they are now and forever so
    Paper Tigers that tis what they are
    Shout Boo and they shall turn and flee


  3. Should “labour crisis” not have a capital L? (I can’t help it)

    The twittersphere today has been full of hard to fathom tweets about Young Labour which, despite the fact that I’m told it doesn’t exist, seems to be getting attacked by the Blairites and right-wing Murdoch press. Yet again, the Labour Party seems to be eating itself.

    Has anyone asked Anas?


    1. I was about to make a similar comment that this is a LABOUR crisis, too. In times past, the Labour Party and the trade unions would have been making a lot of noise on things like this. Trade unions are certainly being active, although we do not read much in the media. However, the post Blair/Bodger Labour Party is a Thatcherite Party and Starmer spends more time expelling socialists from the party than he does attacking the Tories and developing policies.

      Can anyone tell me ONE policy that Labour in Scotland or the UK actually has?


  4. Who voted for Brexit? Own up.

    Shortages, higher prices. No red bus monies for the NHS. NHS needed £10Billion. Got £5Billion. Military funding increased £5Billion. Higher military costs. £5Billion++.

    Better to pay the reduced EU contribution and get the benefits. 450Million pop market. The economy tanking. Low production. Less import/export trade. Goods stuck there are no trucks and higher transport costs. A disaster.


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