Murdo Fraser welcomes UK Government increasing visa numbers for seasonal fruit workers
Murdo Fraser MSP has welcomed the decision by the UK Government to increase the number of visas to seasonal fruit and vegetable workers, describing the move as “tremendous.
The Scottish Conservative politician was reacting the to announcement that the extension to the existing pilot of the Seasonal Agricultural Workers Scheme (Saws) will see up to 30,000 overseas workers being able to pick soft fruits and other farm work next year.
Commenting, Mr Fraser, who represents the Mid Scotland and Fife region for the Scottish Conservatives, said: “This announcement from the UK Government is tremendous news for Perthshire farmers. I had previously raised the issue of problems securing the supply of seasonal migrant workers earlier on in the pandemic.
“These workers play a vital role in the Perthshire region, particularly in the east of Perthshire area and the Carse of Gowrie. I know many Perthshire farmers were concerned at the impact the pandemic would have on seasonal migrant workers coming over here to pick soft fruit and vegetables, so they will be relieved to hear this announcement from the UK Government.
“Perthshire is particularly synonymous with soft fruit, with it being sold in stores across Scotland, so the news that three times as many seasonal agricultural workers will be allowed into the UK to work next year has to be welcomed.”
And Councillor Shiers, who represents the Blairgowrie and the Glens ward, added: “This is very welcome news. It is important that all measures possible are in place to allow the workforce to be recruited for the seasonal fruit and vegetable sector, which is an important part of the economy in Blairgowrie, Rattray and East Perthshire.
“I know how much lobbying has gone on from local farmers and I am sure this news will be welcomed.”