Young people in the rural North need to be more aware of agricultural jobs on their doorsteps to stop them being taken by migrant workers, a North MP has said.
His comments came after Sir James Paice, who was an environment minister until 2012, said British workers have been replaced by migrants in food and farming jobs because they are not prepared to do the work.
He said that “where there is job displacement it is because British workers are just not prepared to do that work rather than taking illegal migrants somehow on the cheap.”
But Sir Alan said that many young people are under the impression that the need for farm labour is disappearing, when that is not the case.
“The reduction in the labour force in recent years does not mean there are no career opportunities,” he said. “Migrant workers are prepared to come here and work hard for a short season, to go on, and build a business for themselves.
“Careers advice isn’t good enough in this country generally, especially for young people wanting a job in food, farming or forestry.
“We need our young people to realise that there are serious jobs and careers in farming and agricultural work, because there are too many young people in rural communities out of work.”
Defra Minister George Eustice told last month’s NFU Conference in Birmingham that the Government is doing “everything it can to support farming”, including more jobs, more opportunities and more financial security.
He was speaking as new research suggested that Britain’s farming sector had defied the recession in recent years by contributing an additional £8.6bn to the economy.