TODAY |

'We need an army' - Prince Charles appeals for workers to help Britain's farmers in the harvest

Prince Charles has urged Brits who have lost their jobs due to Covid-19 to pick fruit and vegetables due to shortages in labour market.

In a video posted to Twitter, the heir to the throne appealed to the public to take on the "unglamorous" task to help farmers lending his support to the Pick for Britain campaign, which aims to get people working hard in the fields to avoid food waste.

"At this time of great uncertainty, many of our normal routines and regular patterns of life are being challenged ... If we are to harvest British fruit and vegetables this year, we need an army of people to help," the 71-year-old said.

He also invoked wartime spirit and called for a World War II-style army of workers to plug 800,000 jobs.

"In the coming months, many thousands of people will be needed to bring in the crops. It will be hard graft but is hugely important if we are to avoid the growing crops going to waste."

Migrant labour is hugely restricted this year because of the travel restrictions imposed around the world to prevent the spread of the virus.

The prince’s appeal is supported by government, which today announced it had launched a website to help the industry recruit workers.

At the Downing Street daily briefing, Environment Secretary George Eustice said only a third of workers who would usually come for the season from countries like Romania and Bulgaria are here.

"We believe that those who are furloughed may be getting to the point that they want to lend a hand and play their part. They may be wanting to get out and they may be wanting to supplement their income with an additional job. And if they do feel that way I would urge them to visit that website and to look at the opportunities that are there."

UK unemployment rose to 1.35 million in three months to March.