Curtis-Machin backs call for review of living wage

HTA chief Raoul Curtis-Machin has supported former B&Q chief executive Sir Ian Cheshire's suggestion that the new National Living Wage (NLW) should be reviewed in a couple of years. Speaking to the BBC earlier this month, Cheshire said a review should take place to examine how businesses are affected by the changes.

Garden centres: seeking change in Sunday trading rule
Garden centres: seeking change in Sunday trading rule

Curtis-Machin told Horticulture Week the HTA supports this idea "because we cannot foresee exactly what the impact will be on businesses at this stage." He added that, because of the NLW, there is a "growing realisation" among businesses that they will have to look at their employment structures and the way that staff are employed.

The HTA is looking at ways in which it can help its members to adapt to the NLW, a compulsory £7.20 an hour for all working people aged 25 and over from April 2016.

The HTA believes that a relaxation in Sunday trading restrictions could help ease some of the pressure on businesses. In its response to a Government consultation on Sunday trading rules last month, the HTA pointed out that by allowing garden centres to trade for longer on a Sunday members would make significant productivity gains and increase sales.

However, not all garden centre traders agree. Phil Stevenson of the independent, family-run Charlton Park Garden Centre in Wantage said: "It will not help at all. It's a backwards step. We need to keep that (current Sunday trading restrictions) because not everyone will be able to afford it. Only the larger companies will be able to afford to do it."

Stevenson added that while the introduction of the NLW is good from a moral standpoint, the horticulture industry "will either suffer more than some other industries or we will have to change - automate. That means fewer people on the shop floor, fewer independents and more of the multinationals. You will lose jobs in the lower skills brackets and these people will find that they can no longer get the work, so the NLW will affect the very people it's trying to help."

Before commenting please read our rules for commenting on articles.

If you see a comment you find offensive, you can flag it as inappropriate. In the top right-hand corner of an individual comment, you will see 'flag as inappropriate'. Clicking this prompts us to review the comment. For further information see our rules for commenting on articles.

comments powered by Disqus

Read These Next

Pots and containers

Pots and containers

Superior propagation products can justify extra expenditure by providing precise cell fill, optimum root development and healthy plugs, writes Sally Drury.

Business Planning - Inflationary pressures

Business Planning - Inflationary pressures

How can horticulture businesses respond to Brexit-fuelled inflation? Neville Stein outlines the options.

Garden centre profile: Mappleborough Green Garden Centre

Garden centre profile: Mappleborough Green Garden Centre

Phase two of the redevelopment of the former Badger Nurseries has delivered rapid and impressive results, Matthew Appleby discovers.

Follow us on:
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
  • Google +
Horticulture Jobs
More Horticulture Jobs

Garden retail Top 100 GARDEN CENTRES

Our exclusive ranking of garden centre performance by annual turnover. NEW: 2016 listing just published

Garden Centre Prices

GARDEN CENTRE PRICES w/e 21 September 2016
GARDEN CENTRE PRICES w/e 24 August 2016

Pest & Disease Tracker bulletin 

The latest pest and disease alerts, how to treat them, plus EAMU updates, sent direct to your inbox.

Sign up here