Claim Brexit threat­en­ing lo­cal farms

Vote to leave al­ready hav­ing an ad­verse im­pact

The Courier & Advertiser (Fife Edition) - - NEWS - craig Smith csmith@the­courier.co.uk

The fate of fruit and veg­etable farms across Tay­side and Fife is be­ing threat­ened as a re­sult of Brexit, it has been claimed.

Scot­tish Lib­eral Demo­crat leader and North East Fife MSP Wil­lie Ren­nie has called on the UK Gov­ern­ment to guar­an­tee an easy-to-op­er­ate sea­sonal work­ers scheme af­ter hear­ing ev­i­dence lo­cal busi­nesses are al­ready strug­gling to get the staff they need, years be­fore the coun­try is due to leave the EU.

Mr Ren­nie was speak­ing fol­low­ing a visit to Barns­muir Farm near Crail, which grows berries and brassica.

“At the peak of the sea­son Barns­muir needs 370 work­ers to har­vest the fruit and the veg it grows on fields across north-east Fife,” he ex­plained.

“Most of the work­ers come from Ro­ma­nia and Bul­garia, but since the Brexit vote they have been strug­gling to get the work­force they need.

“Their work­ers have faced a pay cut be­cause of the fall in the value of pound against the euro fol­low­ing Brexit vote last June.

“The dis­tance from home and the Scot­tish weather be­come more im­por­tant when you don’t get paid as much. The work­ers are also won­der­ing whether Bri­tain re­ally wants them when they hear that immigrants are a prob­lem.

“All these ad­verse ef­fects are im­pact­ing us even be­fore we have left the Euro­pean Union.”

Pete Wishart, SNP MP for Perth and North Perthshire, echoed those com­ments dur­ing a visit to Cro­nan Farm in Strath­more, high­light­ing warn­ings Scot­tish farm­ers could lose more than £250 mil­lion a year as a re­sult of Brexit.

“The un­cer­tain fu­ture for free move­ment of labour has al­ready desta­bilised the in­dus­try and they des­per­ately need to know whether these work­ers are go­ing to be wel­come in this coun­try in the years ahead,” he noted.

A Gov­ern­ment spokesper­son said: “Un­til we have left the EU, the UK will re­main a mem­ber with all of the rights and obli­ga­tions that mem­ber­ship en­tails, and em­ploy­ers in the agri­cul­tural and food pro­cess­ing sec­tors are free to con­tinue to re­cruit EU work­ers to meet their labour needs.” the the

Fruit and veg farms are al­ready strug­gling to at­tract the work­force re­quired to com­plete the har­vest.

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