Furlough workers urged to 'lend a hand' with UK harvest

UK environment minister George Eustice on Tuesday called for Brits to “play their part” in helping the country’s annual harvest, as farmers across the country face a severe shortfall in labour. “This year, we will need to rely on British workers to lend a hand to help bring that harvest home,” Eustice said at the daily Downing Street press briefing. UK farmers have so far struggled to recruit Brits to help pick fruit and veg, raising fears about thousands of tonnes of food going to waste in fields. After ordering pubs, bars, restaurants, theatres, gyms and leisure centres across the country to close indefinitely, Prime Minister Boris Johnson addressed the public on March23; outlining strict exercise and shopping limits, ordering all shops other than food stores and pharmacies to close, and implementing a ban on public gatherings of two or more people.FirstSecretary of State Dominic Raab, while deputising for Prime Minister Boris Johnson as he recovered from coronavirus (COVID-19), announced on April 16 that the U.K. lockdownwouldcontinuefor at least another three weeks. On May 10, the government then released preliminary guidelines on how the country is to exit the lockdown while setting out plans foratentativeeasing onsocial restrictions in the coming months. As the U.K. lockdown begins to lift and some groups return to work while following social distancing guidelines, we look at the situation around the country in pictures.  (Pictured) A pedestrian wearing personal protective equipment takes a photograph from the Millennium Bridge, near St Paul's Cathedral in central London, England on May 13, as people start to return to work after lockdown restrictions were eased slightly.  Workers wearing personal protective equipment unload boxes of disposable gloves from an aircraft, after it landed its cargo of 10 million pairs of gloves at Bournemouth Airport in southern England on May 6. A rise in the popularity of baking during the coronavirus (COVID-19) lockdown appears to have caused many major supermarkets across the UK to suffer a shortage of flour in recent weeks. The Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) warned the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic could see the U.K. economy shrink by a record 35 percent by June.  A man wears a religious placard on Market Street in Manchester, England on March 25.  Workers sell food and household items to local residents from their ice cream van at a supported housing estate in west Belfast, Northern Ireland on April 1. Soldiers and private contractors help to prepare the ExCel centre in London, which is being made into the temporary NHS Nightingale hospital comprising two wards, each of 2,000 people, to help tackle coronavirus, on March 30.  Prime Minister Boris Johnson gives a press conference on the ongoing situation with the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic with chief medical officer Chris Whitty (L) and Chief scientific officer Sir Patrick Vallance (R) in Downing Street after he had taken part in the government's emergency Cobra meeting in London, England on March 16.

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