Brexit labour shortage risks making more than a third of UK food firms “unviable”

Britain’s food industry has warned that a looming Brexit labour shortage could make more than a third of its UK firms “unviable”.

In the latest FDA survey of the “farm to fork” supply chain, 36 percent of the 600 businesses asked said they would become unviable without access to EU workers, while 31 percent reported already having lost EU staff members because they decided to leave the country.

The Food and Drink Federation (FDA) said: “Our sector faces a rapidly approaching workforce shortage and skills gap.”

The FDA is calling for the government to guarantee the rights of European Economic Area citizens.

FDA director-general Ian Wright said: “Food is a matter of national security, so the results of this report are of central concern to businesses across the ‘farm to fork’ industries.

“It is only a matter of time before the uncertainty reported by businesses results in an irreversible exit of EU workers from these shores. This is a scenario that will hurt the UK culturally and economically.

“Without our dedicated and valued workforce we would be unable to feed the nation. This is why it is imperative that we receive assurances from government about their future, and that of our wider workforce.”