Former farming minister says influx of migrant workers is because British “not prepared” to do the work

James Paice James Paice

Thursday, March 13, 2014
8:46 AM

South East Cambridgeshire MP Sir Jim Paice said that British workers had been replaced by migrants in food and farming jobs because they were “not prepared to do the work”.

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Sir Jim, the Coalition’s farming minister from 2010-2012, told the House of Commons on Monday that there were plenty of agricultural employers in UK who paid their workers well and housed them in good accommodation.

But he added that the reason there was job displacement in the sector, whereby migrants were being taken on by employers in large numbers , was because “British workers are not prepared to do that work”.

Sir Jim, who was sacked as minister in 2012 by David Cameron, said: “Does the Home Secretary accept that there are countless employers in the food and farming sector who do not use illegal gangmasters and who instead pay good pay and provide good accommodation for their workers, and that where there is job displacement it is because British workers are not prepared to do that work, rather than because employers are somehow taking on illegal migrants on the cheap?”

Sir Jim announced last year that he would be standing down at the 2015 election after more than 20 years as an MP.

The Home Secretary, Theresa May, responded by saying that the UK needed to “look at ensuring that people in the United Kingdom are able to take on the jobs that are available to them and at the moment”.

She also stressed that the seasonal agricultural workers scheme, under which thousands of migrants are granted permission to work on UK farms every year, was to be scrapped.

5 comments

  • To 'Newmarket Canary': yes, I make comments from time to time - and I sign my comments with my real name.

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    Geoffrey Woollard

    Friday, March 14, 2014

  • Sir James Paice was being factual and honest. I am sure I'm not the only person who is becoming increasingly tired of reading Geoffrey Woollard's views on everything under the sun.

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    Newmarket Canary

    Thursday, March 13, 2014

  • Not only are Brits prepared to work, but they are as hard-working as they've ever been. Unfortunately for us, migrant workers are prepared to work twice as hard as we do, and for less. Not only that, they don't ask awkward questions about health and safety, or the minimum wage either. There are also a lot of local employers who are more than prepared to take advantage of all this. As for Paice's comments, he was sacked from his ministerial post in 2012 – I think that tells us all we need to know about this odious little man's character.

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    Tom Grant

    Saturday, March 15, 2014

  • Sir James Paice has always been blunt. Even in government he was blunt. Maybe he was too blunt to survive in government. Back on the backbenches he has been blunt. Maybe he has been too blunt again this time.

    Report this comment

    Geoffrey Woollard

    Thursday, March 13, 2014

  • To 'Newmarket Canary': yes, I make comments from time to time - and I sign my comments with my real name.

    Report this comment

    Geoffrey Woollard

    Friday, March 14, 2014

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

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