Herefordshire Farming News: County farmer says axing of SAWS scheme will cause long term damage to horticulture (From Hereford Times)
Get involved! Send your photos, video, news & views by texting HT NEWS to 80360 or e-mail us
Herefordshire Farming News: County farmer says axing of SAWS scheme will cause long term damage to horticulture
THE Government’s decision to axe the Seasonal Agricultural Workers’ Scheme (SAWS) will cause long-term damage to the horticulture sector - that's the view of Herefordshire farmer Anthony Snell.
His comments come after industry leaders and labour providers met to discuss the future of the horticulture industry.
Mr Snell maintains that a new SAWS arrangement will be necessary, at least in the medium-term, as the availability of labour from the EU for the horticulture industry dries up.
In the meantime, he said, a good insurance policy against labour shortages in the future would be keeping SAWS structure in place for countries acceding to the EU.
“This Government’s short-term decision to end the SAWS scheme will have long-term consequences for the horticulture industry and we wanted to pull together all of the labour providers to discuss our next steps," said Mr Snell, who farms at Harewood End and is also NFU horticulture board vice-chairman.
He also urged commitment from Government to provide support to the industry.
“If the Government is serious about the horticulture industry securing all of its seasonal labour from the UK and the EU it must ensure that all of the barriers to doing so are removed," said Mr Snell.
"That means more Government assistance for the recruitment of UK or domestic labour.”
Defra has called a meeting tomorrow (Tuesday October 15) which will discuss the impact of the loss of SAWS and how Government can help the industry.