14 September 2021
Labour shortages

Farming, food processing and haulage are three of the biggest sectors in Mid Norfolk and East Anglia as a whole.

George Freeman MP meeting with NFU members

That’s why I was keen to raise recent concerns about significant labour shortages in the pork and poultry sector to the Secretary of State for the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, on behalf of Cranswick Country Foods and other local employers.

The sectors have seen a continued decline in their labour force since the end of June, with some businesses currently reporting 10-15% vacancies despite their efforts to make these jobs more attractive to domestic workers. These staff shortages have serious repercussions for businesses’ profitability and animal welfare standards. Certain businesses have already reported a 15% fall in production and, with Christmas demand around the corner, it is vital that we re-correct this trend if we are to avoid winter food shortages and price rises.

Local NFU representatives have recently reiterated many of these concerns to me, and I will therefore be writing for a third time to Ministers, and bending their ears in the corridors of Parliament, to ensure these issues are addressed.