Did you know that 16 million apples have rotted away this year because the migrant workers from the EU who used to come and pick them haven’t bothered to turn up?
The reason? Well, it might be Brexit – but it’s more likely to be because they can’t get Universal Credit because of the Tories’ “hostile environment” policy.
The issue was raised in Prime Minister’s Questions today (October 23) by Labour’s Jonathan Reynolds. He said: “The National Farmers Union reported this week that 16 million apples have rotted away, because the immigrant workers that normally pick them for the country have chosen not to come.
“Immigration was clearly a big part of the EU referendum, and the Prime Minister has promised a points-based system, but that is not going to allow for people coming here to pick fruit. What does he intend to do to stop the scandal of British food rotting away in the fields?”
BoJob blathered some nonsense about there being “more EU nationals living and working in this country than ever before”.
What about this, then? Read:
EU citizens are being made homeless and destitute after being turned down for universal credit despite having the legal right to reside in the UK, in what critics are calling the benefit system’s very own “hostile environment”.
Ministers are being urged to review “unfair practices” after law centres and welfare advisers reported a surge in cases in which EU nationals without UK citizenship have ended up in debt or sleeping rough because of incorrect decisions to refuse their application for universal credit that cut off their benefits overnight.
Claimants who challenge the decision typically have to wait up to 40 weeks for an appeal hearing. Welfare advisers say they win their the appeal in almost all cases, resulting in back payments of thousands of pounds.
I should remind readers that, by agreement, EU migrants who claim benefits in the UK have them paid by their own government; the UK government charges their country for the cost.
So there is no reason for the UK to deny benefits to these people, if their earnings are so low (Tory policy is to depress wages for the lowest-paid, remember) that they cannot afford to live.
Still, this is the situation: EU migrant workers are being forced into destitution because of Tory government policy not to pay their benefits – on the grounds that they are not habitually resident in the UK.
Is it any wonder they can’t be bothered to pick our rotten apples?
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