Farmers hit by a shortage of seasonal workers have resorted to giving produce away for free. Richard Morritt is a York-based raspberry grower who invited in the public after failing to attract staff.
Others have done the same, and the National Farmers Union (NFU) has repeated calls for government help. A government spokesperson said it was looking at ways to help the sector recruit more domestic labor.
Morritt said in previous years the majority of his pickers came from eastern Europe. In 2020, he had relied on furloughed workers and university students but this year he said "the shortage of labour has made it unviable". To stop the fruit going to waste, he allowed members of the public to pick it for free.
In October, the NFU said only 11% of seasonal workers in the 2020 season were UK residents. In response to its call for support, the government increased the number of visas available under the Seasonal Worker Pilot (SWP) from 10,000 in 2020 to 30,000 this year.