The chancellor's announcement of these plans in July last year was unexpected and shot a Labour fox, but it was intended to do far more.
The UK has higher employment than any of its European competitors, our economy is in better shape and yet we have unusually low levels of national productivity - we produce less per hour worked than almost all our competitors. If we could match the productivity of the USA, our economic problems would disappear. So, if you're the chancellor, what do you do to encourage greater productivity from business?
One way is to sacrifice some of the UK's high employment for the mechanisation of jobs - when one person operates machines that do the work of 10, productivity increases. So the question becomes how do you encourage businesses to mechanise production processes and cut out labour?
Capital allowances act as a carrot and increasing the cost of labour as a stick. No one will feel comfortable arguing against the NLW but one of its designs is as a nudge towards the mechanisation of low-cost jobs.
In a thriving economy perhaps that doesn't matter because lost jobs are created elsewhere. But big ideas don't come without casualties. For nursery stock producers the pain will be manageable - we might even find some of the productivity improvements Government want us to find.
But for some sectors, such as soft fruit and asparagus, low-cost labour is a massive percentage of the cost of production and mechanisation is not possible. For these crops, increasing prices is not an option. The competition is in southern Europe where there is no NLW. Successful, profitable sectors are likely to be forced out of the UK if Government cannot be persuaded to find them concessions.
Tim Edwards is chairman of Boningale Nurseries