Fenland growers may be hit by seasonal workers scheme axe

Andrew Heskin.

Andrew Heskin. - Credit: Archant

Fenland’s growers could be hit by the axing of a seasonal workers scheme.

Fenland-based agricultural accountants Moore Thompson says the Government’s decision to axe of the Seasonal Agricultural Workers Scheme (SAWS) may adversely affect Fenland’s growers.

Under SAWS, UK fresh produce suppliers could employ 21,250 seasonal migrant workers from Romania and Bulgaria for up to six months at a time.

SAWS specified that workers must be provided with accommodation and paid the agricultural minimum wage.

Andrew Heskin, a partner in the firm’s farming sector team, said: “Axing the scheme could have serious consequences for our farmers and growers who rely on seasonal migrants to bring in their harvests.

“There is a real concern that by closing the scheme migrant workers will be attracted to other industry sectors such as construction or hospitality.

“This could have a serious impact on the sector and potentially lead to financial difficulties for our growers.

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“They will need to source employees from elsewhere which could result in increased overheads and reduced cashflow.”