Britain urged to allow more non-EU foreign fruit pickers
Tuesday 14 May 2013
Consumers face higher food prices unless Britain opens up a scheme for foreign fruit pickers to countries outside the EU, the Government’s chief migration adviser has warned.
Nearly 22,000 Romanians and Bulgarians are employed each year under the seasonal agricultural workers scheme – but this will close when access restrictions are lifted at the end of 2013. The Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) found that the British horticulture sector could shrink if farmers fail to find replacement workers, which could trigger a surge in labour costs and ultimately higher prices for consumers.
Professor David Metcalf, MAC chair, said the Government should consider proposals for a new scheme that targets non-EU workers, in particular countries that have a high number of agricultural students, such as Ukraine. Mr Metcalf said if the labour supply “dwindled” once the scheme closed to Romanians and Bulgarians, operators may have to “drive wages up” to secure staff. “In those circumstances, therefore, it’s possible that supermarkets would charge higher prices for their celery and strawberries and so on,” he said.
Supermarkets may also start to import produce from overseas to keep consumer prices competitive, he said. “If the growers need to pay much higher wages, the prices to the supermarket would go up then, it’s possible then imports would go up.”
The consequences of a shrinking labour supply include seeing the entire horticulture sector in Britain contract and lead to an increase in technology being used instead of manual labour, he said.
Temporary curbs were imposed on Romanians and Bulgarians in 2005 to protect the British labour market, but they expire in December.
- 2 Harry Potter fans can apply to the Hogwarts-inspired College of Wizardry
- 3 Jessica Chambers: 19-year-old woman 'doused with lighter fluid and burned alive' in the US
- 4 Russell Brand calls Nigel Farage 'poundshop Enoch Powell' in BBC Question Time debate
- 5 Orange Wednesdays are no more
Weather bomb in pictures: Storms cuts power for tens of thousands – and snow is on the way
Jessica Chambers: 19-year-old woman 'doused with lighter fluid and burned alive' in the US
Russell Brand calls Nigel Farage 'poundshop Enoch Powell' in BBC Question Time debate
Russell Brand was rendered speechless on Question Time by this man
Fury at Airbus after it hints the super-jumbo may be mothballed
Disgruntled RBS worker writes hilarious open letter to Russell Brand after anti-capitalist publicity stunt leaves him hungry
Shock poll shows voters believe Ukip is to the left of the Tories
Nigel Farage's approval rating hits 'record low' as popularity suffers in wake of Ukip sex scandal
Nigel Farage defends Kerry Smith 'ch***y' comment: 'If you are going for a Chinese, what do you say you’re going for?'
Ukip candidate jokes about 'shooting peasants' in racist and homophobic rant
Pakistan school attack live: Taliban kill at least 132 children in 'horrifying' massacre
£65000 - £80000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Finance Director required to jo...
£15000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a unique opportunity fo...
£50000 per annum + 26 days holiday,pension: Ashdown Group: A highly successful...
£27000 per annum + pension + holidays: The Jenrick Group: A Quality Technician...