Migrants less likely to get new jobs says Esther McVey

Esther McVey Employment minister Esther McVey said British workers were now more likely to get agricultural jobs

A government minister has denied claims that migrant workers are more likely to get new jobs than British workers.

Employment minister Esther McVey responded to reports that some farmers cannot find enough British-born staff for seasonal work.

The food production industry has in recent years seen a large increase in the number of workers from overseas taking jobs in farms and packhouses.

Yorkshire farmer Guy Poskitt employs up to 170 migrant workers to process vegetables for major supermarket chains.

In an interview for Sunday Politics Yorkshire and Lincolnshire, Mr Poskitt said: "Without overseas workers my business could not survive. We have some good local workers, but not enough of them.

"If there was a limitation on the number of overseas workers, I would have to tell many of my customers that I could not deliver their orders."

'Enjoys the work'

I spoke to one worker from Estonia, who is now working as an assistant technical manager for Poskitt's vegetable farm.

Marika told me her mother regularly travels to Yorkshire from Estonia to fill temporary jobs in the factory during peak periods, such as the run-up to Christmas.

"My mum spends half the year in Estonia and half the year here. She enjoys the work," said Marika.

The government has disputed claims that the majority of agricultural jobs are going to migrant workers.

Ms McVey said: "No longer is it four out of 10 British nationals getting jobs, it's now nearly eight out of 10 British nationals getting those jobs.

"So I would like to think that farmers do feel they can take on British people, because we've got them to a standard where they are good enough to employ."

Recent figures revealed a rise in the number of EU citizens coming to the UK in 2013, although net migration remained unchanged.

Tim Iredale, Political editor, Yorkshire & Lincolnshire Article written by Tim Iredale Tim Iredale Political editor, Yorkshire & Lincolnshire

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  • rate this

    Comment number 21.

    the tories, labour & libs are all the same useless EU supporters vote Ukip your country needs you!

  • rate this

    Comment number 20.

    This is economic nonsense. The working tax-credits etc would buy a harvesting machine made in the UK, giving employment to higher skilled labour. One such company also exports these machines all over the world.
    Why should UK fruit picking remain in the stone age?

  • rate this

    Comment number 19.

    Of course the Tory led government finds "no problem", how else do their rich farmer friends and sandwich factories get their cheap labour. Their argument that they cannot get locals to do the work is a smoke screen. Who do you think did this work before these foreiners turned up. The LICLABCON is 100% in favour of the EU.

  • rate this

    Comment number 18.

    A lot of us don't want these backbreaking low paid unskilled jobs.
    Those that do are in a competition.
    Inevitably a highly mobile foreign workforce to whom the wages are very good will be drawn here. They want the work; they had the guts to step into the unknown & come here; hard to see why an employer would turn them away.
    But it's also how the eu's 'Free Movement' law holds down wages.

  • rate this

    Comment number 17.

    "So I would like to think that farmers do feel they can take on British people, because we've got them to a standard where they are good enough to employ."

    What exactly are you saying Ms McVey? Are you saying that you have finally pressurised the UK work force into accepting slave wages for back breaking work - how very Tory of you - well done you!


Comments 5 of 21



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