BMPA supports the case for a progressive immigration policy
Following an extensive survey of 129,000 firms across 18 industry sectors, the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) has released a report today that advocates a new approach to immigration.
The report recommends the scrapping of arbitrary immigration targets and instead calls for a system that assesses the contributionmigrants will make. It says that the system should remain open enough to allow the UK economy to grow by taking advantage of the economic benefits that immigration has been shown to deliver. At the same time, it recommends that the right controls be put in place to build public trust.
Josh Hardie, CBI Deputy Director-General said: “The stakes couldn’t be higher. Get it wrong, and the UK risks having too few people to run the NHS, pick fruit or deliver products to stores around the country. This would hurt us all – from the money in our pockets to our access to public services.”
If implemented, these recommendations could avoid a major problem in the food and drink industry, which is the UK’s largest manufacturing sector.
The British meat industry is particularly vulnerable to shortages of workers across all skills levels. More than 85% of official veterinarians employed to audit abattoirs in the UK are EU nationals; an average of 63% (rising to 80% in some cases) of production staff in meat processing plants are from the EU.
It’s not just food handling skills that will be in short supply. As the meat sector harnesses technology to develop the factories of the future and provide more connectivity up and down the food supply chain, it will be competing with other industries to fill engineering, science and technology roles.
The ability to source trained workers to fill skills and regional labour shortages is critical for the smooth running of the meat sector, particularly as it has proved so hard to attract UK born trainees into the industry. Any increased cost to source labour will put a strain on already tight margins which will mean inevitable price rises being passed on to the British consumer.
Nick Allen, CEO of the British Meat Processors Association said: “The BMPA supports the recommendations set out in the CBI’s latest report and will be adding its voice to calls for Government to heed the warnings coming directly from food businesses up and down the country.”
“This detailed report presents a clear business case for how future immigration policy should be shaped so that it fosters rather than hinders economic growth once we have left the EU”