Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Brexit fantasies die in the fields of Shropshire

A farmer and Conservative councillor tells the Shropshire Star:
“If we can’t get the people to help with the harvest, it will end up rotting in the field and getting ploughed in. 
"Once things like strawberries and lettuce are ready, you have a very small window to harvest it. 
"People have to want to do it. If farms can’t get the people, it will knock on to the supply in the supermarkets, which would be a lot of trouble.”
The newspaper links this crisis to the outbreak of coronavirus, but the number of overseas seasonal farmworkers was always going to be cut by this government.

As Hugo Gye wrote in the i in Feburary:
Nearly every farm worker - 99.8 per cent - currently in the UK is a citizen of another EU country. In the future no migrants will be allowed to come to Britain to pick fruit, herd animals or do any other agricultural work, except for 10,000 a year who qualify for a seasonal worker visa valid for just a few months. 
Farming industry bosses say they need at least 70,000 a year or will risk seeing fruit rot in the fields.
George Eustice, as the Shropshire Star article reminds us, thought he could mobilise a new Land Army.

Andrew Pierce dreams of conscripting the unemployed.

Neither of these fantasies is going to become reality. Like much else about Brexit, they cannot survive much exposure to it.

No comments: