This Sunday is Mother’s Day in the UK and daffodils are the traditional gift. But flower growers are seeing how the end of free movement of people after Brexit combined with restrictions due to the pandemic has made employment more difficult.
A dwindling workforce means many bouquets will end up without a recipient, as florist Kevin Haynes explains: “The biggest problem is the employees, who can’t come to do this kind of work. Today we had a hundred, one hundred and fifty people selected, and now there are only 25” .
Daffodils are a thriving business in Lincolnshire, but this British sector is not included in a scheme to admit foreign agricultural workers after the UK’s exit from the European Union.
Before Brexit, an average of 25 million narcissus per year could be collected on a farm. After Brexit, this number is expected to drop to 6 million. This is because Europeans are forbidden to work in flower fields because they are classified in a different category from fruits and vegetables. This is a peculiarity that already greatly affects British flower growers.
Only food producers can use the government’s Seasonal Worker Pilot Scheme. Buyers who decided to stay last summer could work, but the rest were unable to return
Complaints against the government
In addition to being unable to find collectors, Adam Taylor, who runs one of the world’s leading daffodil farms, was forced to halt exports: “The British people voted for Brexit, yet all of these details are unknown. Obviously people understand it. And on Christmas Eve, we were told that we have this great deal, and that everything will be great, but it is not. However, according to the political data, everything is very easy, everything is possible. But it really is not As well “.
The government says it is monitoring the needs of flower growers to make sure they are met. And he will work with the sector to boost local employment. But those affected see how in 2021 entire fields are left at the mercy of the wind.