Lucas – Fruit and veg being left to rot in fields thanks to Brexit

A new report by The Guardian has found that fruit and vegetables grown by farms in the UK is being left to rot in fields due to a fall in the number of seasonal workers from the EU since the Brexit vote. 

The survey found that more than 99% of seasonal workers recruited last year came from Eastern Europe, but more than 4,300 vacancies went unfilled. Just 0.6% of seasonal workers were from the UK. Alison Capper, chair of the NFU’s horticulture board, said that “Growers are wondering how they are going to get through the [2018] season,” and that ““There is an element of desperation.”

 

Commenting, Caroline Lucas MP, leading supporter of Open Britain, said:

“The Government’s zealotry on Brexit and immigration is leading to a crisis in the British fruit industry. Fruit and veg is literally being left to rot in the fields because workers from the EU are increasingly unwilling to work here thanks to Brexit.

“And it’s no good Brexit hardliners just saying ‘get British people to do it instead’. Only a minuscule proportion of seasonal farm workers come from the UK. This isn’t a problem that’s going to be solved by nativism and wishful thinking.

“While the Government fails to get its act together, British farms will struggle and our food production will suffer. It’s far past time for Ministers to start putting the economic interests of the country before rabid ideology, and start negotiating to keep the UK in the Single Market and the Customs Union permanently.”

/ends

 

Notes to editors:

More on this story can be read here.