£11m migrant bill warning for meat trade

By James Ridler contact

- Last updated on GMT

A no-deal Brexit could cost the UK meat industry £11m to keep migrant workers in the country
A no-deal Brexit could cost the UK meat industry £11m to keep migrant workers in the country
Shouldering the price of keeping EU migrant workers in the UK after a no-deal Brexit would cost the UK meat industry more than £11m, the British Meat and Poultry Association (BMPA) has claimed.

The BMPA’s comments were in response to remarks made by environment secretary Michael Gove in an Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee evidence session last month.

A BMPA spokesman told Food Manufacture: “Michael Gove’s suggestion that food manufacturers would be expected to foot the bill for their EU employee’s certificates to remain in the UK would be yet another body blow to our industry, which relies heavily on migrant workers.

“A large percentage of the workforce – an average of 70% – comes from the EU, due to an inability to attract local British workers into these jobs.”

Thin margins

With Britain’s meat industry typically working on margins as thin as 1%, the BMPA warned it was extremely sensitive to any change in costs and pricing – be it increased staff costs or the disruption and barriers to trade the Government’s proposed tariff and customs arrangements could cause.

Questioned on the cost of keeping EU migrant workers certified to continue working in the UK, given a no-deal Brexit, Gove said: “I’d expect, in many cases, it would be the employer [that would pay]. As I’ve said a number of times before, there are costs to a no-deal exit that all of us need to contemplate.”

This cost, about £225 per person, would be multiplied across the 50,000 migrant workers currently employed within the UK meat industry.

Related topics: People, Meat & poultry

Related news

Show more


Post your comment

We will not publish your email address on the website

These comments have not been moderated. You are encouraged to participate with comments that are relevant to our news stories. You should not post comments that are abusive, threatening, defamatory, misleading or invasive of privacy. For the full terms and conditions for commenting see clause 7 of our Terms and Conditions ‘Participating in Online Communities’. These terms may be updated from time to time, so please read them before posting a comment. Any comment that violates these terms may be removed in its entirety as we do not edit comments. If you wish to complain about a comment please use the "REPORT ABUSE" button or contact the editors.