Who is worrying more about his KFC than the NHS?

Following on from pubs and hospitality, our MP, Simon Jupp seems to have discovered a new cause to promote. 

Four days ago he asked a written question about labour shortages in the poultry sector. There are only a few poultry farmers in East Devon. So Owl wonders whether Simon is more worried about his local KFC running out or even whether he will get his turkey at Christmas. Why is this an East Devon priority?

Owl, and the correspondent who alerted Owl to this, would rather he had asked what the government was doing to recruit enough doctors and nurses for the NHS.

From the answer, we will all be pleased to know that prisoners can be released early on licence to gain “useful skills and work experience” – an option hopefully not available to help with the NHS, police and other like staff shortages – yet! 

But who knows? 

PS Ever thought of going veggie Simon?

Photo of Simon JuppSimon Jupp Conservative, East Devon

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he is taking to tackle labour shortages in the poultry sector.

Photo of Victoria PrentisVictoria Prentis The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

We are aware of the challenges that the poultry industry has encountered in recent months. Defra continues to monitor the market, and we will continue to work closely with the sector.

Defra is working with the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) to raise awareness of career opportunities within the food and farming sectors among UK workers.

DWP is supporting Defra to develop and deliver a long-term recruitment strategy that supports the domestic workforce into both seasonal and long-term roles in the agriculture sector, including the poultry sector.

DWP has worked with Defra and key Trade Associations to develop a regional recruitment strategy that utilises DWP’s Jobcentre Plus network, fosters strong local links between employers and work coaches, and gives jobseekers the skills and knowledge they need to enter the sector.

All poultry businesses are encouraged to advertise roles through DWP’s Find A Job website, where they can upload and manage their vacancies. DWP does not charge for this service and it is available nationally, including Scotland and Wales.

Defra welcomes the Ministry of Justice‘s work on the Release On Temporary Licence (ROTL) scheme for work across a number of sectors, including the agri-food sector. The scheme aims to help prisoners gain useful skills and work experience as they approach their release.

In 2021 and beyond, food and farming businesses continue to be able to rely on EU nationals living in the UK with settled or pre-settled status. Over 5.1 million EU citizens and their families have been granted status under the EU Settlement Scheme and EU nationals who have settled status can continue to travel to the UK to do work in the poultry sector in 2021.

Defra is also working closely with the Home Office to ensure there is a long-term strategy for the food and farming workforce beyond 2021.