Environment Secretary George Eustice told the daily coronavirus briefing at Downing Street today that it was expected just a third of the usual number of migrants would come to the UK this year to help pick the country’s produce - and they were likely already in the country before the lockdown began.
He said: “We’re also acutely aware that we’re about to start the British season in fresh produce, in soft fruits and salads.
“We estimate that probably only about a third of the migrant labour that would normally come to the UK is here, and was probably here before lockdown.
“We are working with industry to identify an approach that will encourage those millions of furloughed workers in some cases to consider taking a second job, helping get the harvest in in June.”
He added: “It’s not an issue at the moment since the harvest has barely begun, but we do anticipate that there will be a need to recruit staff for those sectors in the month of June.”
Mr Eustice also said the Government had been working with local authorities to ensure people who are not clinically vulnerable but in need of help can get the food that they need.
“We recognise that there are others that are not clinically vulnerable and therefore not in that shielded group, but who may also be in need of help,” Mr Eustice said.
“Perhaps through having a disability, or another type of medical condition, or indeed being unable to draw on family and neighbours to help them.
“So we have been working with local authorities to ensure that those people can be allocated a volunteer shopper to help them get their food needs.”
He said charities can now make direct referrals on the Good Samaritan app to locate volunteers for those in need.
Editor’s note: First and foremost - and rarely have I written down these words with more sincerity - I hope this finds you well.
Almost certainly you are here because you value the quality and the integrity of the journalism produced by The Yorkshire Post’s journalists - almost all of which live alongside you in Yorkshire, spending the wages they earn with Yorkshire businesses - who last year took this title to the industry watchdog’s Most Trusted Newspaper in Britain accolade.
And that is why I must make an urgent request of you: as advertising revenue declines, your support becomes evermore crucial to the maintenance of the journalistic standards expected of The Yorkshire Post. If you can, safely, please buy a paper or take up a subscription. We want to continue to make you proud of Yorkshire’s National Newspaper but we are going to need your help.
Postal subscription copies can be ordered by calling 0330 4030066 or by emailing [email protected] Vouchers, to be exchanged at retail sales outlets - our newsagents need you, too - can be subscribed to by contacting subscriptions on 0330 1235950 or by visiting www.localsubsplus.co.uk where you should select The Yorkshire Post from the list of titles available.
If you want to help right now, download our tablet app from the App / Play Stores. Every contribution you make helps to provide this county with the best regional journalism in the country.
Sincerely. Thank you.