The Migration Advisory Committee’s recommendations will lead to a two-tier food system says the British Poultry Council

Read Britain’s £7.2billion poultry meat sector’s response to the publication of the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) report on a points-based system and salary thresholds for immigration.

British Poultry Council, Chief Executive, Richard Griffiths, said:
“The recommendations made by the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) of using a combination of skill and salary thresholds will have the largest impact on British food producers, with poultry meat industry being the hardest hit.

We value all of our workforce, wherever they come from, but the MAC report fails to respond to the current need for labour in the poultry industry post-Brexit. Poultry is half the meat the country eats. Our sector has grown significantly, beyond the UK labour availability in the areas we operate, and 60% of our workforce (22,800 people) are EU nationals who ensure safe, nutritious and affordable food is available for all.

If the MAC’s intention is to base its recommendations on what it sees as ‘being in the best interest of the resident population’ then they have failed miserably. With the UK leaving the European Union, it is more important than ever for the Government to recognise the needs of the poultry meat industry and enable the sector to continue feeding the nation their favourite meat. We cannot run the risk of creating a two-tier food system where we import food produced to lower standards and only the affluent can afford quality British produce.

If Government wants to shape our future immigration policy in a way that improves people’s lives, then it must ensure that British food remains affordable and accessible for all. We are calling on the Government to protect the necessary access to non-UK labour that poultry producers need to be able to fill the 7,200 vacancies within the industry every year. This will enable our sector to continue to flourish and feed the nation with food produced to the high standards it demands.

Losing control of how we feed ourselves as a nation would undermine British food producers at a time when we should be looking to use Brexit as an opportunity to take matters of nutrition, productivity, and sustainability into our own hands and make a step change for the benefit future generations.”