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NPA chief executive to give evidence to MPs on labour shortages

4th Feb 2017 / By Alistair Driver

NPA chief executive Zoe Davies has been asked to give evidence to MPs about the prospect of labour shortages in the agricultural sector.

parishThe Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (EFRA) Committee, chaired by Devon MP Neil Parish (left) is holding two evidence sessions on the topic on Wednesday (February 8).

Zoe will appear in the first one at 2.30pm alongside represenatives from the British Meat Processors Association and the Horticultural Trades Association. 

The sessions will cover what is currently happening in the labour market, as the weaker pound makes it harder to attract EU labour, and the likely impact of Brexit on the future availability of EU labour. 

The call from the EFRA committee reflects the effective campaign work the NPA has done on this vitally important topic.

An NPA survey showed 58 per cent of businesses across the pig supply chain employed at least one migrant worker, while nearly half would not survive or would be forced to make changes to how they operated without migrant labour.

NPA chairman Richard Lister has joined forces with the poultry sector to warn Immigration Minister Robert Goodwill that the nation’s ability to produce food would be undermined by a lack of access to EU labour. 

And following Prime Minister Theresa May's recent Brexit speech in January, the NPA issued a press release in which Zoe stressed: “Without EU labour there will be no British pig industry as we know it."

Defra Secretary Andrea Leadsom suggested at the recent Oxford Farming Conference that the Government would consider introducing seasonal migrant worker schemes for the agricultural sector.

But the NPA is continuing to press for schemes that would provide continued access to permanent workers, both skilled and unskilled, who want to live and work in the UK.

The NPA has also been invited to Downing Street on February 28 to discuss the implications of Brexit for the pig sector.