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Home Office in the media

This blog post was published under the 2015-2024 Conservative Administration

Home Office in the media: Monday 21 October

Posted by: , Posted on: - Categories: Leading stories

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Today's leading stories include the announcement of a strategy to tackle criminal drone use, and concerns from the National Farmers' Union over the availability of fruit and vegetable pickers.

Drone strategy

There is coverage in The Telegraph, The Times, Daily Mirror, The Guardian, The Sun and Daily Star on a planned new unit to tackle illegal drone use.

The media report that the mobile police unit will have new detection and disruption equipment and is to be operated by the police and other emergency services, with the aim to stop illegal drone use.

Sky and BBC cover the story, with Security Minister Brandon Lewis appearing on BBC Breakfast talking about use of the technology and the new unit. The Minister comments on how drones have many positive uses that we should be focusing on, such as helping fire crews access burning buildings, and capturing aerial shots of the ocean.

The Times comments on how the new system has been used by the military since 2016, and models have been bought this year by large British airports. The piece says drone use has grown, with more than 76,000 expected to be used commercially by the end of 2030.

In a Times op-ed, Mr Lewis announced that the Home Office will be giving the police new powers to tackle criminal drone use and announced the launch of the drone strategy.

Security Minister Brandon Lewis said:

This Government is proud of the UK’s burgeoning drone industry and we will do all that we can to ensure that the UK firmly establishes itself as a world leader in this industry.

But to ensure the drone industry can thrive in this country we must be able effectively to crack down on those who would use drones to cause harm or disruption.

There is no silver bullet to help protect our infrastructure and our citizens from malicious or careless drone use. That’s why this Strategy outlines a broad range of work to ensure we can effectively tackle the threat.

Seasonal workers

Farmers are being forced to leave millions of apples, pears and other fruit and veg because of a lack of EU workers, the Times reports.

The report notes that 99 per cent of the UK’s fruit picking workers come from the EU – but they are increasingly turning to work in Germany, the Netherlands and Denmark.

A study by the National Farmers’ Union (NFU) found that there had been a 16 per cent shortfall in workers with the country needing 70,000 workers to plug the gaps.

The report adds that farms have generally relied on workers from eastern Europe, and in particular Bulgaria, to pick fruit.

The NFU has reportedly lobbied the Government to increase the number of permits granted to non-EU season workers from 2,500 to 70,000.

A Government spokesperson said:

When we leave the EU, we will have an immigration system which will benefit the whole of the UK, including our growers.

We are actively engaging with the wider agricultural sector on the future system and the Home Secretary has commissioned the independent Migration Advisory Committee to consider a points-based system.

As part of this, the Seasonal Workers Pilot is designed to test the effectiveness of our immigration system at alleviating seasonal labour shortages during peak production periods.

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