By Tom Peterkin | Scotsman.com
Thirty SNP politicians representing rural areas are demanding action from the UK Government to tackle Brexit-fuelled labour shortages that have left Scotland’s soft fruit farms in crisis.
The politicians have written to Home Secretary Sajid Javid and Environment Secretary Michael Gove with a series of questions and criticising the UK Government’s “desperately inadequate” response.
The action was taken as Theresa May cut short her summer break to met with French President Emmanuel Macron in an attempt to win support for her Brexit plan.
The Prime Minister travelled to president Macron’s summer residence in Fort de Brégançon, on a small island off the French Mediterranean coast, yesterday.
EU withdrawal has been blamed for the battle faced by farmers to recruit foreign workers to pick berries. Many farmers employ pickers from Eastern Europe, most of whom will no longer be able to come to Scotland when the free movement of people comes to an end.
The labour shortage has already had a devastating impact on some farms, with tonnes of fruit worth many hundreds of thousands of pounds to businesses being left to rot. Farmers are demanding a new seasonal workers’ scheme to be introduced to save their businesses.