Senior Tory demands Boris Johnson take ‘urgent action’ on farm labor shortages

The chairman of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee has urged the Prime Minister to take “urgent action” to tackle “unprecedented” farm labor shortages caused by Brexit and the pandemic.

Conservative MP Neil Parish on Thursday wrote to Boris Johnson to ask for fast-tracked visas, more relaxed English language requirements, and extended poultry worker visas. Representatives from the sector told the committee they were “frightened” about their future.

Committee members also urged the government to form longer-term solutions for growers of fruit, vegetables, and ornamental crops such as daffodils so they could meet domestic demand.

In the letter, Mr. Parish said: “We are writing to request urgent action on labor shortages affecting the food and farming sector, following an evidence session held with producers and growers this week.

“We have heard how a combination of the pandemic and the loss of access to European labor has caused an unprecedented labor shortage, leaving some in the sector ‘frightened’ about their future.”

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