Home Office Minister corrects comments made about pork processors made in Commons


By Alistair Driver, Pig World (UK)

January 13, 2022


Home Office Minister Kevin Foster has corrected false claims made about the UK’s major processors approach to recruiting foreign labour that he made in front of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (EFRA) Committee.


During a heated hearing in mid-December, Mr Foster told the Committee that only one of the UK’s major four pork processors held the necessary license to allow them to sponsor visa applicants under the skilled worker route.


Industry representatives immediately contacted the committee challenging the Minister’s evidence and stating that all four were indeed sponsors, prompting EFRA chair Neil Parish to write to Mr Foster calling on him to clarify the statement.


Mr Parish also called for the Minister to clarify his assertion about a G-grade GCSE equivalent level of English language was the fundamental required for workers recruited under the scheme.


In his response, published by the committee, Mr Foster duly put the record straight, blaming officials for the error. He said: “On the basis of my briefing, I understood Cranswick Country Foods PLC allowed their sponsor licence to expire in September. However, I have now been informed by officials, the company was relicensed under slightly different names – including one licence granted less than a week before the Committee hearing.


“Disappointingly, officials also overlooked the licences held by Pilgrim’s Pride Ltd and WM Morrison Supermarkets PLC, due to naming convention issues. I have since been informed of these licences and I am grateful for this opportunity to correct the record.”


However, he went onto reiterate his point that the processors were not doing enough...