Labour shortage concern

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Angus South MSP Graeme Dey has joined SNP colleagues in demanding clarity from the UK Government over the future of seasonal workers.

Since the EU referendum, fruit farmers across Scotland have warned that a drop in EU seasonal workers would lead to high-quality produce rotting in fields.

One farm in the Mearns has estimated the cumulative cost to their business of leaving a perfectly good crop to rot at £350,000 this year.

A group of 30 SNP politicians representing rural communities have demanded urgent answers from Environment Secretary Michael Gove and Home Secretary Sajid Javid to labour shortages.

Mr Dey said: “The UK government was warned time and again that the Brexit vote was going to cause seasonal labour shortages and push food prices up as a result. So why, two years later, are we still waiting for action?

“I know this is an issue of concern locally and have been working on it since the result of the referendum in 2016.

“The Tories’ response and forward planning have been desperately inadequate – too many questions have been left unanswered for too long, while Scottish farmers lose out.

“It’s simply not good enough – people’s jobs and livelihoods are at stake here, not to mention the future of agriculture in Scotland, and its world-class reputation.”