On Tuesday 29th March the APPG on Pigs & Poultry, chaired by Jim Shannon MP, held a breakfast meeting to discuss access to labour. Over fifteen MPs and Lords joined industry representatives to highlight the issue and talk about possible solutions.
The need for migrant labour and lack of UK labour for agricultural and food sectors is now well established, and a number of MPs underlined this with data from their own constituencies where the number of unemployed is considerably lower than the available jobs in the area. The debate focused on a two-pronged approach of a simplified work-visa system for migrant labour, and boosting the profile of British food in schools.
Defra Minister, George Eustice, joined the meeting and the discussion broadened into the role of welfare standards and how Government can provide incentives/support for producers in this field. All agreed to consider how welfare and incentives can contribute to a post-Brexit system of British food production.
It was a very successful meeting and highlighted the importance of these specialist groups within Parliament in bringing much needed debate to key issues.