SOANES POULTRY managing director Nigel Upson is the latest to warn of a labour crisis in the poultry sector in an appeal to his local MP.

Mr Upson hosted Tory MP for Beverley and Holderness Graham Stuart at the firm’s Yorkshire processing plant.

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He said the firm was facing staff shortages and having to cut production as a result.

“Last week, we were 20% down on staff.

“As a consequence, we have had to scale back production and have had to temporarily shut the new training hub because we can’t release staff from processing for training.

‘Cutting production’

“If we lose any more of the team, we will be forced to cut back production even further.

“This will cause shortages for our customers and consumers, halt investment and have wider impacts for our supply chain and our support for the local economy.

“The crazy thing is there are still people being paid to stay at home on furlough when the country is struggling for staff to produce food and other essential items.”

‘Issues faced’

Mr Stuart said: “It was really interesting to see the significant investment Soanes has put into the company over the last couple of years, and I hope this helps to support nearby farmers and create local jobs in the years to come.

“I know my colleagues in the Treasury, the Home Office, and the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs have been engaging extensively with the sector in recognition of the issues it’s facing.

“However, I know from speaking to Nigel that there are still improvements to be made and that there could be more of a focus on his industry.

“All these various issues being at play is why I’m urgently seeking meetings with Ministers to raise Nigel’s concerns with them.”

It follows an intervention from 2 Sisters Food Group president Ranjit Singh in late July, who said the food sector faced ‘unique, era-defining challenges’.