Britain's youth should take up the fruit picking and farm labouring jobs currently done by EU migrants, the Environment Secretary has suggested.
Andrea Leadsom, who withdrew from the Tory leadership race in July, said she hoped more youngsters could be encouraged to "engage with countryside matters" and take up jobs and careers in food production.
At a Conservative Party conference fringe event in Birmingham she was challenged about the impact immigration curbs would have on the food and farming sector, which depends heavily on migrant labour.
What experts have said about Brexit
What experts have said about Brexit
1/11 Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond
The Chancellor claims London can still be a world financial hub despite Brexit “One of Britain’s great strengths is the ability to offer and aggregate all of the services the global financial services industry needs” “This has not changed as a result of the EU referendum and I will do everything I can to ensure the City of London retains its position as the world’s leading international financial centre.”
2/11 Yanis Varoufakis
Greece's former finance minister compared the UK relations with the EU bloc with a well-known song by the Eagles: “You can check out any time you like, as the Hotel California song says, but you can't really leave. The proof is Theresa May has not even dared to trigger Article 50. It's like Harrison Ford going into Indiana Jones' castle and the path behind him fragmenting. You can get in, but getting out is not at all clear”
3/11 Michael O’Leary
Ryanair boss says UK will be ‘screwed’ by EU in Brexit trade deals: “I have no faith in the politicians in London going on about how ‘the world will want to trade with us’. The world will want to screw you – that's what happens in trade talks,” he said. “They have no interest in giving the UK a deal on trade”
4/11 Tim Martin
JD Wetherspoon's chairman has said claims that the UK would see serious economic consequences from a Brexit vote were "lurid" and wrong: “We were told it would be Armageddon from the OECD, from the IMF, David Cameron, the chancellor and President Obama who were predicting locusts in the fields and tidal waves in the North Sea"
5/11 Mark Carney
Governor of Bank of England is 'serene' about Bank of England's Brexit stance: “I am absolutely serene about the … judgments made both by the MPC and the FPC”
6/11 Christine Lagarde
IMF chief urges quick Brexit to reduce economic uncertainty: “We want to see clarity sooner rather than later because we think that a lack of clarity feeds uncertainty, which itself undermines investment appetites and decision making”
7/11 Inga Beale
Lloyd’s chief executive says Brexit is a major issue: "Clearly the UK's referendum on its EU membership is a major issue for us to deal with and we are now focusing our attention on having in place the plans that will ensure Lloyd's continues trading across Europe”
8/11 Colm Kelleher
President of US bank Morgan Stanley says City of London ‘will suffer’ as result of the EU referendum: “I do believe, and I said prior to the referendum, that the City of London will suffer as result of Brexit. The issue is how much”
9/11 Richard Branson
Virgin founder believes we've lost a THIRD of our value because of Brexit and cancelled a deal worth 3,000 jobs: We're not any worse than anybody else, but I suspect we've lost a third of our value which is dreadful for people in the workplace.' He continued: "We were about to do a very big deal, we cancelled that deal, that would have involved 3,000 jobs, and that’s happening all over the country"
10/11 Barack Obama
US President believes Britain was wrong to vote to leave the EU: "It is absolutely true that I believed pre-Brexit vote and continue to believe post-Brexit vote that the world benefited enormously from the United Kingdom's participation in the EU. We are fully supportive of a process that is as little disruptive as possible so that people around the world can continue to benefit from economic growth"
11/11 Kristin Forbes
American economist and an external member of the Monetary Policy Committee of the Bank of England argues that the economy had been “less stormy than many expected” following the shock referendum result: “For now…the economy is experiencing some chop, but no tsunami. The adverse winds could quickly pick up – and merit a stronger policy response. But recently they have shifted to a more favourable direction”
She said: "There are two sorts of employee who have migrated to this country. One are permanent employees who have come here from the EU or from elsewhere in the world.
"As has been made very clear, it is not Theresa May's intention to deport anyone unless our European colleagues announce their intention to do likewise.
"So, she is absolutely intending that those people who come here and do a great job in our food and farming sector continue to do that.
"The other side of it is the seasonal workers. Of course, before we joined the EU we had a very good programme of seasonal workers' licences and it is not beyond the wit of man to have such a thing in future."
Asked if it was possible for Britons could do the jobs instead, she said: "Of course it is, that is a whole different issue."
She added: "We could get British people doing those jobs and that tempts me to stray into the whole issue of why wages aren't higher and so on.
"My absolute hope is that with more apprenticeships, with more young people being encouraged to engage with countryside matters, that actually the concept of a career in food production is going to be much more appealing going forward."
Ross Murray, president of the Country Land & Business Association, said: “We highlighted immediately after the referendum result and in our CLA New Opportunities paper on the rural workforce that workers from the EU and beyond play a crucial role in the rural economy, not least in farming and the whole food chain.
"In agriculture alone more than 30,000 permanent workers and an estimated 67,000 seasonal workers overseas help keep our shops and market stalls stocked with UK produce.
“We have been calling on Government to ensure that after Brexit there will still be a flexible, skilled and secure workforce so that farms and other rural businesses can plan for the future, invest in their businesses and secure or create jobs.
"We are asking ministers to commit to establishing sector based schemes that will ensure opportunities for seasonal and skilled workers from both the UK and overseas if free movement of labour is removed."
He added: “This includes the introduction of a seasonal agricultural workers scheme post-Brexit enabling people to enter the UK for a specific job, for a set period of time without the right to remain afterwards.
"Similar schemes have worked well in the past in agriculture and will help farmers to keep producing the food we eat, to run viable businesses, and to continue creating job opportunities year in and year out. Similar schemes will be needed in other rural sectors such as tourism.”Reuse content