A UK Government website encouraging people to make up for labour shortages by picking fruit has crashed moments after a Tory minister urged the public to sign up.
The “Pick for Britain” campaign aims to get people – including those furloughed during the crisis – to help out in the fields to harvest fields and pick fruit.
Environment Secretary George Eustice promoted the scheme during the daily coronavirus briefing.
Although the harvest begins in early May, he said that only about a third of workers from overseas who would normally come to the UK were here already and that only “small numbers” would continue to travel.
The Tory minister encouraged people that were interested in signing up to register on pickforbritain.org.uk.
However, it quickly became apparent that the site had crashed, with users unable to access the platform at all.
A government source told Sky News: “It has been up and running since April and already lots of people have found jobs from the site.
“So, it’s not a case that it’s a new platform that’s not working.”
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Speaking at the daily Downing Street press conference, Eustice said: “One thing is clear and that is that this year we will need to rely on British workers to lend a hand to help bring that harvest home.”
He added that furloughed workers “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”.
The website is now functioning properly.