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Coverage of Defra’s Response to Independent Review into Labour Shortages in the Food Supply Chain

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There has been widespread media coverage following our announcement of new measures to address labour shortages in the food supply chain.

The news was reported by publications including The Telegraph, Farmers Guardian, Farmers Weekly, Horticulture Week, The Grocer and Farming UK.

In the Defra response to John Shropshire’s Independent Review into Labour Shortages, it was announced the government will implement a series of new measures to support the industry. These include extending the seasonal worker visa route for five years until 2029, providing up to £50 million to fund new technology to support fully automated packhouses and robotic crop pickers, and creating a comprehensive strategy to enhance skills provision and attract domestic workers to the sector.

The Grocer, Farmers Guardian, Horticulture Week, Farming UK and Farmers Weekly all lead with the extension to the seasonal worker visa route, recognising that the sector is supportive of the measures. The coverage in Farmers Weekly was particularly positive, leading with the fact that the extension of the scheme was welcomed by industry leaders, including the National Farmers Union.

Environment Secretary Steve Barclay said:

"We have a world-class food and drink sector, and the measures announced today will strengthen this by boosting funding for the cutting-edge technology that will reduce reliance on migrant labour in the long term.

"Businesses do best when they can plan effectively for the future, which is why we’ve extended the seasonal worker visa route until 2029 to give farmers and growers the certainty they need to thrive."

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