A SHORTAGE of workers is already affecting every sector in Gloucestershire delegates heard at an event to discuss the impact of Brexit on the county last week.

David Drew MP, who hosted the Gloucestershire Brexit Summit at Forest Green Rovers Football Club, alongside Clare Moody MEP for the South West and Gibraltar said that most of the delegates who attended were desperate for the government to provide some clarity.

“The government desperately needs to provide some clarity on how to address labour shortages,” he said. “It has focused on reducing migration figures, yet failed to address the very real need for workers in key sectors.”

During the event, which hosted around 100 delegates from across the business community, business representatives, politicians and farmers voiced their concerns about the impact that Brexit is already having on their businesses, and discussed ways to plan for an uncertain post-Brexit future.

William Fraser, National Farmers Union county advisor for Gloucestershire told the concerned audience that farmers were already reporting a deficit in labour which was increasing every quarter.

“Long term confidence of farmers has never been lower, there is huge uncertainty for them,” he explained.

“The biggest single issue it access to labour force - this is an issue and now farms are under staffed with not enough people on the ground to allow these businesses to function.”

Additionally Matt Griffiths, director of policy at Business West said that a recent business survey had revealed that 77.9 per cent of companies were not taking measures to prepare for Brexit, largely because they do not know what to prepare for.

“Europe is such an important market particularly for small firms. What we are seeing is a government imposing significant friction for our export market yet hasn’t conveyed what that means and how companies can adapt,” he said.

“Companies are not ready, they are worried about their supply chains, and are unsure what they are supposed to be preparing for.”

But Adam Starkey of Green Gourmet Foods, believes that there Brexit could offer some businesses the opportunity to develop their businesses to meet new opportunities: “Brexit has accelerated the drive towards automation and the robotics industry.

“There will be winners in this, particularly if we can develop that industry and expertise in Gloucestershire,” he said.