Following the Christmas Eve announced that the government planned to cut the number allowed in under the scheme beyond next year, NFU Scotland and its counterparts in England and Wales have called for an increase rather than any reduction.
“The horticultural sector in Scotland accounts for only one per cent of land area but 16 per cent of the agricultural output, and its ongoing success is dependent on securing the necessary labour,” said the union’s David Michie.
He added that any cut in numbers would make the current labour crisis worse.
He said that as the industry continued to feel the impacts of shortages across the supply chain as a result of Brexit and Covid.
The SWP is viewed as an essential route to get the workers needed for the fruit, vegetable and ornamental sectors.
“I urge all NFU Scotland members who employ seasonal workers through the SWP scheme to complete our short survey,” said Michie.
He said that the information gathered would be used as evidence in the vital lobbying of the UK Government’s Home Office department – and stated that without such efforts the SWP would have been drastically reduced this year:
“Please help us keep up the pressure on this issue,” he concluded.