The first element of core research for working for 5 a day was the development and roll out of a survey for growers, employers and workers of all kinds in horticulture. The survey took an inclusive approach to all those who work in horticultural production.
The purpose of the survey was multiple, some of its aims were to:
- gather experiences on the impacts of Brexit and COVID 19 on the workforce
- gain insights on how well farmers and workers feel valued in their roles
- find out about ways in which all types of workers manage changing labour and work needs through the seasons
- find informed starting points for qualitative research starting in Phase 2
- gather demographic insights on the horticultural workforce
The survey was mainly composed of multiple choice questions to make it easy to complete. Some open questions were included so participants could share their thoughts. Survey roll-out has now been completed.
Alongside survey development, ongoing policy analysis has also taken place in phase one. Analysis includes the tracking of major policy developments in relation to UK trade and agriculture, and in relation to the UK Seasonal Workers migration schemes. Current policies being reviewed and followed are:
- UK Seasonal Workers. We have been following the development of the UK’s seasonal migration policy. Following the end of Freedom of Movement, in 2019 the UK government launched a Seasonal Workers Pilot with a quota of 2,500 visas to begin with. This was extended in 2020 and 2021, with quota numbers rising to 10,000 and then 30,000 visas. In December 2021 the name of the scheme changed and it became the ‘Seasonal Worker visa route’. The current scheme lasts until 2024 and currently has a quota of 45,000 visas.
- The Agricultural Transition process. We are following the process through which subsidy regimes change following Brexit. The agricultural transition began on 1 January 2021 and plans have been laid out for a process through which direct payments to farmers will reduce and then stop between 2021 and 2027. The plans outline ways in which payments will be made to improve the environment, animal health and welfare and reduce carbon emissions. See, The Agricultural Transition Plan 2021-2024.
- New Trade Agreements. Following Brexit, the UK is negotiating trade agreements with a number of countries. Agriculture and food play a significant role in these agreements. Major developments will be included in the project policy analysis. See Trade Agreements with non-EU countries here.