A CUMBRIAN MP has joined the voices calling on Government to address labour shortages.

The Environment Food and Rural Affairs Committee said this week that Government has not demonstrated a strong understanding of the labour shortages that are challenging the food and farming sector.

The Government has not accepted the recommendation of the EFRA committee, which they published in response to a labour shortages report.

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EFRA recommended that Government lowers the English language requirement for Skilled Worker Visa applicants in the food and farming industry; the committee also called for a “lessons learnt” exercise on temporary short term visa schemes.

Government has announced that 10,000 additional seasonal worker visas will be available for the remainder of 2022, The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs also pledged to commission an independent review to address labour shortages in the supply chain.

Dr Neil Hudson, MP for Penrith and The Border and Member of the EFRA Committee said: “Our cross party EFRA Select Committee is very disappointed with the Government’s response to our recommendations on labour shortages in the food and farming sectors. From people to help harvest crops, to abattoir and food processing workers, to vets, we urgently need to shore up the labour needs in these vital sectors.

“This is about bolstering food security, supporting rural businesses, and protecting animal health and welfare. We are calling on the Government to step up and act in the national interest and to ensure that high quality sustainable and  locally-produced food can continue to be accessible in our households.”

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