Fresh British veg 'could be wiped out by Brexit'

Posted in Google Brexit News
at 2016.10.16
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Fresh British veg 'could be wiped out by Brexit'

A leading farmer has warned that British vegetables will disappear from supermarket shelves if post-Brexit immigration controls prevent thousands of Eastern Europeans from working in the UK.

Guy Poskitt, who grows 80,000 tons of carrots and parsnips a year in Yorkshire, says it is impossible to find enough British labourers to do the work.

Last year the number of EU nationals in the UK rose by an estimated 180,000 but the Government is committed to reducing total immigration to the tens of thousands.

“If you took migrant workers out of the supply chain you would within five days have no fresh British produce on the supermarket shelves,” Mr Poskitt claimed.

Czech labourers picking pumpkins from a field in Yorkshire Image Caption: ‘Locals will not take the jobs on offer in agriculture’

He told Sky News he pays agencies £9.50 per hour for temporary labourers and that without workers from Eastern Europe the industry would collapse.

“[My business] would have to close; we could not serve our customers without the availability of migrant workers,” he said.

Picking pumpkins from a nearby field for supply to major supermarkets, a group of Czech labourers said they are puzzled about why some people say they are no longer welcome.

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“I take home £50 or £60 a day here but just £30 for work in Prague,” said 21-year-old Patrick Dumka, as he stood in the muddy field that is his workplace for nine hours a day.

He picks more than 1,000 pumpkins during each shift in all weathers, taking just an hour’s rest in a makeshift shelter, and joked that the British are too lazy to do the work.

“This is good work, normal work for us,” he said with a smile. “It is not hard.”

Mark Straw whose firm Abbey Personnel Services supplies labourers to Yorkshire farms claims there is no alternative to Eastern European labour.

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From his office in Selby he hires and transports 200 Eastern Europeans to work each day, and says locals will not take the jobs on offer in agriculture.

“It’s outdoor, it’s physical, you would say that there are little prospects for advancement,” he explained.

“It’s unskilled labour so [locals] do not want to do that kind of work.”

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Published at Sun, 16 Oct 2016 00:17:12 +0000

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