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29 April 2020updated 06 Oct 2020 9:45am

“Huge interest“ from public to gather harvest, including among furloughed staff, environment secretary says

By Samuel Horti

There is a “huge interest” from members of the British public to fill in for European workers who usually help gather the harvest over the summer but who cannot travel because of the coronavirus lockdown, Environment Secretary George Eustice has said.

In a normal year, around 30,000 people conduct seasonal agircultural work over May and June, mainly arriving from the European Union, but only around 10,000 are here now, he told the BBC.

“We will need a significant number of British people, in particular those who have been furloughed they have the chance if they want,” Eustice said.

“We are getting huge interest from people wanting to do this… We need tens of thousands of people to do this work.

“I’m confident, actually, that a lot of those furloughed staff will want to lend a hand in June.”

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