Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs written question – answered on 9th January 2019.

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Photo of The Earl of Sandwich The Earl of Sandwich Crossbench

To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the possible impact of Brexit on the UK's food and catering industries; on what research they base their assessment; and what they forecast as being the net annual loss of European workers in this sector in each year from 2019 to 2025.

Photo of Lord Gardiner of Kimble Lord Gardiner of Kimble The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

It is a priority of this Government to enable an innovative, productive and competitive food supply chain, which invests in its people and skills. Defra is working closely with industry and other Government departments to understand labour demand and supply for the food and catering sectors, including both permanent and seasonal workforce requirements.

The Government has been clear that free movement between the UK and EU will end. Defra is working closely with the Home Office to ensure that there is a long term strategy for the food and farming workforce as part of the future immigration policy, with a smooth transition as the UK leaves the EU.

The Immigration White Paper, published on 19 December 2018, sets out the foundation for a single immigration system, where it is workers’ skills that matter, not where they come from. The Government has also made it clear that it will continue to welcome workers from the European Union who are already here in the UK and those who come here in the future who meet the immigration requirements.

Defra is also working with industry to raise awareness of the career opportunities within the agriculture and food industry to attract domestic workers, and is exploring the potential for innovation and automation and their impact on future labour demands.

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