Matt Warman, MP for Boston and Skegness, has raised concerns in Parliament about the exploitation of migrant workers in Lincolnshire’s agriculture.
During Department for Business, Innovation and Skills Questions in the Commons, Matt highlighted the need for both supermarkets and consumers to consider the working conditions of workers, many of them migrants, to help ensure that the food we eat is produced without people suffering for the sake of commercial profits.
The Minister responsible for consumer policy, Nick Boles MP, agreed with Matt and highlighted the importance of supermarkets and other traders being transparent about their work. He confirmed that the Government is creating a director of labour market enforcement, to strengthen its ability to find and stop exploitative employers.
He added that any kind of slavery or labour exploitation should be nowhere in the supply chain, and if exploitation is discovered, gangmasters’ licenses will be refused or revoked.
Matt said, ‘I’ve been liaising with supermarket chiefs and the Anti-Slavery Commissioner, Kevin Hyland OBE, about how we can all work together to raise awareness of issues such as modern slavery in supply chains. I welcome the Government’s assurances that action is being taken to prevent businesses exploiting migrant workers through the Modern Slavery Act 2015, and by creating a new director of labour market enforcement.’
‘This is particularly important in our local area, which is home to many migrant workers who help produce some of the finest food in the country, and I will continue the conversations I’ve had with the Home Secretary, the Anti-Slavery Commissioner and leading supermarkets such as Waitrose to make sure conditions improve. The aim, ultimately, is not just ethical food but also better wages and living conditions for those involved in this vital local industry.’
- Matt’s full question, and the Minister’s response can be found on this link: http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201516/cmhansrd/cm151110/debtext/151110-0001.htm#15111034001485 and can be watched here http://goo.gl/jB396h