Members of Parliament (MPs) warn that chronic labor shortages in the agricultural and farming industries might lead to price increases and the UK becoming increasingly reliant on imported food. COVID and Brexit, according to the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) Committee’s study, had a significant influence on the sector. MPs want ministers to make it easier for skilled employees to communicate in English and broaden the seasonal worker visa program. The DEFRA said it will continue to work with the industry.

A rapid drop in offshore labor resulted in more than half a million job openings in the food and farming sector last year, out of a workforce of four million. Almost a fourth of the daffodil crop in the United Kingdom was left unpicked. Fruit growers were obliged to leave their crops to decay in the fields. A shortage of competent butchers and abattoir employees resulted in the incineration or rendering of 35,000 pigs planned for sausages, bacon, and chops, reducing them to fat. When a scarcity of employees and Heavy Goods Vehicle (HGV) drivers jeopardized the supply of Christmas turkeys, the government stepped in and established a temporary immigration scheme. Industry members had been warning the government since April 2021, according to the committee, and this was too little, too late. It has a significant impact on animal welfare, food security, and worker mental health. While the report praised some of the government’s efforts, it warned that without fundamental reform, the UK would face a chain reaction of wage increases, price hikes, and food exports.