FURLOUGHED and unemployed people are being urged to ‘pick for Britain’ as the coronavirus crisis creates a shortage of migrant workers to harvest crops.
Environment Secretary George Eustice said only a third of worker who would usually come for the season from countries like Romania and Bulgaria are already here.
Only small numbers are likely to arrive as travel remains reduced during the Covid-19 pandemic. Speaking at today’s Downing Street press conference,
Eustice announced the launch of a new Pick for Britain website, aiming to ‘marry up job opportunities from growers and employers with those seeking a second job, particularly those that are furloughed’. Many will be eager to sign up to earn some extra money and to help plug the nation’s labour shortage.
But people have been unable to do so as the site was down moments after it was unveiled. Eustice added: ‘We believe that those who are furloughed may be getting to the point that they want to lend a hand and play their part. They may be wanting to get out and they may be wanting to supplement their income with an additional job. And if they do feel that way I would urge them to visit that website and to look at the opportunities that are there.’
Today’s announcement comes after MPs were warned quarantine restrictions for overseas visitors would lead to a shortage of workers to harvest fields and pick fruit.
The Government is drawing up plans to require travellers arriving in the UK to isolate for 14 days as part of an effort to limit the number of new Covid-19 cases. But the food industry fears that the measure could have a severe impact if it is in place when around 60,000 foreign workers are due to arrive to help harvest crops.
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