THE owner of a farm in Evesham has criticised the Government and lamented Brexit for causing a lack of migrant workers in the industry.

Overseas workers account for much of the agricultural labour force in the UK, but post-Brexit rules have tightened up visas for many.

The owner of the food farm in Evesham, who wished to remain anonymous, dismissed the idea that the shortage of oversees workers was primarily caused by the pandemic.

They said: “Don’t try and blame Covid. It’s Brexit and this Government who haven’t got a clue what they’re doing.

“We’ve been lobbying about this for three years.

“There’s a massive shortage of migrant workers – in fact it’s not only in farms now but also transport companies with lorry drivers.

“The Government have underestimated how damaging it is and has damaged the nation if you ask me.

“I’ve written to my local MP to say that the Government knew about this and they thought that the UK population would come out and sort the shortage but it hasn’t happened.

“They can’t blame Covid for the current situation– the Government have shut the gates here and at this rate the Government will have no growers left and no transport companies.”

Mid-Worcestershire MP Nigel Huddleston said: “I do not comment on constituency correspondence or individual casework of a constituent. But I can comment on the broader themes.

"As the MP for a predominantly rural constituency, I will always back our farmers and growers who work hard all year round to provide us with a secure supply of fruit and vegetables. I was pleased that the Seasonal Workers Pilot has been extended and expanded from 10,000 to 30,000 visas for workers to come to the UK, from EU or non-EU countries, for a period of up to 6 months to pick and package fruit and vegetables on our farms. However, although Pilot numbers are increasing, it’s not designed to meet the full labour needs of the horticultural sector. The expansion of the Pilot for 2021 will allow Ministers to further test how this Pilot operates, while helping farmers and growers adjust to changes to the labour market.

"I know that my colleagues in the Department for Transport are also aware of historic shortages in the road freight sector and we are working with the industry to train professionals and again focus on the opportunities this presents domestically.

"While I recognise that leaving the EU may have led to some Labour challenges it’s also important for us to focus on domestic recruitment and skills development.”