Growers asked to make voices heard on seasonal agricultural workers scheme

Growers have until 10 April to respond to a request for feedback over whether industry lobbyists should ask for a Seasonal Agricultural Workers Scheme (SAWs) for 2017.

Home Office immigration minister Robert Goodwill
Home Office immigration minister Robert Goodwill

After an EFRA Parliamentary committee inquiry into worker shortages in the growing industry post-Brexit, HTA policy adviser David Brown said he was "disappointed" by Home Office immigration minister Robert Goodwill dismissing the idea of a SAWs scheme for this season.

Goodwill said it would take 5-6 months to set up a scheme to fill gaps left by workers leaving the UK because of Brexit.

EFRA committee chairman Neil Parish suggested the Government was being "complacent" about introducing an alternative SAWS scheme after the committee heard from those such as the HTA and Cobrey Farms that labour was getting more difficult to find. He cited the NFU’s figures of 80,000 workers required for 2018 and 95,000 by 2021.

Goodwill said there was "not sufficient evidence" that a SAWS scheme was needed for 2017 and said there was still two years of freedom of movement before final Brexit.

Brown said Goodwill and farming minister George Eustice did the "classic thing of leaving the door open".

Goodwill said there would be a consultation with industry about labour demands and that he did not want any "knife edges" in labour supply.

The NFU has called for a new SAWS scheme ahead of final Brexit. But Goodwill said: "It would be a mistake to speculate [about] a specific immigration structure ahead of negotiations."

Brown has been given the opportunity to give in written evidence after consulting HTA members.

He added: "I need to hear what the members say and then decide whether to push for one [SAWs scheme] for next year, or wait and see. I expect to see a report somewhere around the last week of April."

He said he was asking whether growers were getting more anxious about worker supply for 2017.


Before commenting please read our rules for commenting on articles.

If you see a comment you find offensive, you can flag it as inappropriate. In the top right-hand corner of an individual comment, you will see 'flag as inappropriate'. Clicking this prompts us to review the comment. For further information see our rules for commenting on articles.

comments powered by Disqus

Read These Next

Albizia

Albizia

Fluffy flowers and bipinnate foliage make these rarely seen shrubs and small trees highly prized, says Miranda Kimberley.

Pots and containers

Pots and containers

Taking advantage of the latest available sizes, shapes and formats could help you boost production as well as sales, Sally Drury suggests.

Pest & Disease Management - Fusarium patch

Pest & Disease Management - Fusarium patch

Avoid damage to ornamental lawns and sports turf


Editorial ... Garden industry prospects and election pledges

Editorial ... Garden industry prospects and election pledges

After a disappointing rain-hit May, the garden industry will be heading into this weekend's second key bank holiday period buoyed by better weather - and a final boost for sales from publicity surrounding the RHS Chelsea Flower Show.

Farrer On ... Why we need a land strategy

Farrer On ... Why we need a land strategy

The idea that farming has something to do with housing supply may seem tenuous.

Dixon on... Progressive innovation

Dixon on... Progressive innovation

Horticulture is typified by innovative thinking. Leaders in change are producers of fresh produce propelled by cost reductions and price stagnation.


Follow us on:
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
  • Google +
Horticulture Jobs
More Horticulture Jobs

Pest & Disease Tracker bulletin 

The latest pest and disease alerts, how to treat them, plus EAMU updates, sent direct to your inbox.

Sign up here

Are you a landscape supplier?

Horticulture Week Landscape Project Leads

If so, you should be receiving our new service for Horticulture Week subscribers delivering landscape project leads from live, approved, planning applications across the UK.