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Contribution of migrant labour recognised in Food and Farming Awards

7th Dec 2016 / By

The contribution made by migrant labour to the UK agricultural economy has been recognised at a prestigious awards ceremony in the House of Commons.

FD awardsAs Brexit casts a cloud over the future of migrant labour in the UK, Devon MP Neil Parish announced the British Farming Industry Recognition Award was going to the 'tens of thousands who work with our farming industry to make it the success it is today'.

The award was collected by a prominent official in the European Commission, as the Food and Farming awards made a clear political statement. 

Mr Parish, chair of the EFRA committee and the Farm Business event's host, said: "As we focus on Brexit and all that means we need to focus on how UK Farming will be successful in home markets and at exporting. For that to happen we need all parts of the industry to work together.

"One of the key elements that make the industry successful includes the hugely important permanent and seasonal workforce from overseas and in particular from our EU neighbours.

"The Food and Farming awards on behalf of the UK farming industry would like to applaud the vital contribution that they make to successful food and farming businesses."

Jacqueline Minor, head of representation at the European Commission, received the award on behalf of the workers from Steve Colville, of Warners Law.

For more on the Food and Farming award winners, click here

Political pressure

The food and farming sector has upped the political pressure on the future of migrant labour in recent days.

Last week, NPA joined forces with poultry industry organisations to warn the Government of the huge potential impact on the industries of restricting access to migrant labour after we leave the EU.

In a letter to Ministers, the organisations highlighted key findings from a recent NPA survey on EU labour, which included: 

  • One in five farms and businesses connected to the pig industry would struggle to survive without migrant labour
  • 58 per cent of businesses employed at least one migrant worker, with 9 per cent employing between 11 and 50 and 2 per cent more than 50.

At the same time, the largest coalition of food producers in the UK’s history came together to call for tariff-free access to the Single Market and continued access to a competent and reliable workforce post-Brexit.