Matt Frei 10am - 1pm
Nigel Farage's passionate reaction to Pick for Britain scheme
19 May 2020, 19:26 | Updated: 19 May 2020, 19:31
This is Nigel Farage's passionate reaction to the Pick for Britain scheme announced in today's daily briefing.
Environment Secretary George Eustice urged furloughed Brits to "lend a hand" to farms as just a third of the usual number of fruit and vegetable pickers have come to the UK this year.
Shortly after Mr Eustice's daily briefing announcement that there is a major drive for farm workers to harvest fruit and veg, the website for the Pick for Britain scheme crashed.
Nigel said that MEP, farmer and businessman Rupert Lowe wrote to George Eustice on 4 May to say "it would appear that many farmers don't want British pickers because they want to bring people in from Romania and Bulgaria.
"Those people then stay in their accommodation...and the money they pay for that is tax free money for the farmers."
Nigel predicted that many people will still visit Britain to pick fruit after the government announced plans for “air bridges” between countries with low coronavirus infection rates.
He said, "I don't buy the argument that all the Brits are useless and lazy, I just don't buy it. I do also wonder that some people are working on these farms are working in conditions that are not too far away from modern day slave labour and I wonder whether that's good enough."
In response to a Tweet that said all young people are idle, Nigel responded, tongue in cheek, "You're right, all our young people are useless and lazy and we should throw them on to the scrapheap."
He said the first time he heard this argument made was in 2004 by Tony Blair :"The argument was made to open up the doors unconditionally to former Communist countries and he knew that the big employers and the big landowners wanted the cheapest possible labour."
Nigel said that is of course not to say people from other countries are not good, hard-working people, but people Nigel knows have found it very difficult to get jobs.
"I hope this Pick for Britain website solves it, Mr Eustice, but I do have my doubts."