Media release: Labour market is in crisis

ALP Media Release – 25 June 2021

The latest Association of Labour Providers food industry survey paints a bleak picture of labour supply in 2021 with responses reflecting the impact of the post Brexit UK immigration system and coronavirus.

  • 78% of businesses do not expect to have sufficient workers in 2021
  • 75% believe that due to government policy the food supply chain will not have enough workers who want to fill these types of jobs and will contract, close or (where feasible) relocate overseas
  • Over one third are experiencing chronic shortages and a quarter say they are in crisis and will rationalise/reduce their output

David Camp, ALP Chief Executive says, “The food industry is a great sector to work in and the critical role played by our “UK Food Heroes” in keeping the nation fed was justly recognised during the pandemic.  Food businesses have invested significantly in improving labour planning, recruitment and retention activities but there are just not enough workers.  The government needs to immediately extend the T5 temporary seasonal worker visa to critical sectoral roles such as HGV drivers, meat and poultry processors and work collaboratively with industry on a coherent future workforce and skills strategy”.

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About the Association of Labour Providers

Established in 2004, ALP ( is a not for profit, member funded trade association promoting responsible recruitment and good practice for organisations that supply the workforce to the UK food supply chain.

ALP’s 360 labour provider members supply the T5 visa edible horticulture seasonal workers and approximately 75% of the contingent workers into the food growing and manufacturing supply chain.  Many of these workers progress to form the permanent workforce.  All organisations that supply labour into these sectors are required to be licensed by the Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority (GLAA).

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