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16 January 2019

Farmer's Union Warns "We Cannot Feed Our Nation" After Brexit

A shortage of seasonal labour after Brexit could leave the UK unable to feed itself, according to the President of NFU Scotland.

Andrew McCornick warned that the pilot Seasonal Agricultural Workers Scheme, granting temporary visas for up to 2,500 non-EU nationals, was inadequate – with some crops left unharvested last year due to worker shortages.

Mr McCornick also said that the UK government’s Shortage Occupation List was “dismissive” of the industry’s needs.

Now, Banffshire and Buchan Coast MSP Stewart Stevenson has warned of the impact a shortage of seasonal labour could have across his constituency.

Commenting, Stewart Stevenson MSP said:

“Even before Brexit, Scotland’s agricultural industry has recently struggled to attract the seasonal workers we need – with the political environment and the falling pound making the UK a less attractive place to work.

“This industry depends on seasonal labour. With low unemployment and agricultural jobs located outside population centres, these jobs can’t be easily filled by existing Scottish residents.

“Yet the Tory approach to Brexit and immigration treats our vital farming industry with complete contempt – and risks leaving our crops rotting in the fields.

“Scotland needs an immigration system that meets our needs – and the power to deliver it.”

Stewart Stevenson
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