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In his speech as outgoing president at the BMPA’s annual general meeting last month, Roebuck said the recommendation for butchers to be included in the list of migrant workers to prioritise to plug skills gaps had not led to action yet.

“Labour supply continue to be a concern for us all and it was so disappointing having successfully lobbied for butchers to be included in the Migratory Advisory Committees Shortage Occupation list recommendations, then the findings of the MAC were put on hold indefinitely,” he said. “We have continued to lobby on this and are working with other Trade Associations who have similar challenges.”

Speaking to Food Manufacture​, Roebuck added: “A number of people that have been working in the UK haven’t been able to go home and see their families for almost 18 months. If they go home to see their families, depending on which country they are from, there can be issues trying to get back. In some cases I would suggest they might not come back.

Flow of labour ‘not there’

“There may be some people who would like to come from a particular part of Europe into the country. That’s not allowed at the moment, so that flow of labour into the country is not there at the moment. That’s going to affect the food industry in the UK.”

Commenting on the impact on the meat sector, Roebuck added: “It’s not quite yet having an effect, but we are at a quiet time of year. As we go into autumn that could become a challenge.”

Listen to this podcast for more of Roebuck’s thoughts on Brexit, skills and the positive progress the BMPA has made during his time as president.

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