The UK's Fresh Produce Consortium (FPC) has joined other trade associations across the UK food and drink sectors to call on members recently for vital data to help produce a report to the UK Government demonstrating the impacts of labour availability issues across the UK food and drink supply chain.
The consortium explains: "We are grateful to those members who took time to complete the survey and provide essential evidence for the report to cover our sector.
"The industry report Establishing the labour availability issues of the UK Food and Drink Sector has been published by Grant Thornton and has been sent to Ministers and senior civil servants in both the UK Government and those of the devolved nations.
"Now we are asking you to contact your local Member of Parliament to make the report even more impactful within government. You can use this template to highlight the issues your business is facing and ask your MP to support you, firstly by reading the report, and taking the recommendations it makes to the Cabinet Office.
"The key ask is to work with UK Government to create a 12 month Covid 19 Recovery visa in order to alleviate the labour shortages.
"This short term response will enable the sector to work with UK Government and the devolved administrations in parallel on a package of measures that support training and skills development, the adoption of new technologies and career promotion.
"It is a package of measures that will enable the sector to transition to a more stable long term footing and with it continue to support the economic recovery and growth of the UK."
Nigel Jenney, Chief Executive of FPC says: “We are grateful to members for contributing evidence in this report of the impacts of labour shortages. The UK fresh produce sector is doing its utmost to maintain supplies during a difficult trading period, exacerbated by Covid.
"We believe that the UK Government has all the evidence it needs to take action now to support our members and be more flexible in its approach in key policy areas relating to labour.
"Without urgent action, consumers will see empty shelves and businesses will not be able to survive to benefit from longer term solutions.”