Britain Losing Its European Fruit Pickers Starts to Worry BOE

How Brexit Could Make Food Prices Skyrocket

European workers are showing signs of turning away from the U.K. as an employment destination, according to a network of businesses across the country monitored by the Bank of England.

Recruitment difficulties intensified this quarter, becoming more broadly based across sectors and skill levels, the BOE said in its Agents’ Summary published Wednesday. While jobs requiring less expertise were still easier to fill, some firms reported that even those had become more difficult, “notably those that relied heavily on seasonal workers, for example in horticulture and agriculture” and mostly from the EU.

“Such individuals had become less inclined to travel to the United Kingdom due to Brexit uncertainty and the negative impact of sterling’s depreciation on pay when translated into their home currency.”

At the same time, U.K. consumers are easing up on their spending as they feel the pinch from squeezed real incomes. Pay growth -- which has lagged inflation in recent months -- had risen slightly, with some firms reporting that they expect pay awards to increase towards 2.5 percent-3.5 percent over the next year, from 2 percent–3 percent in 2017.

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