A Defra letter states: "Although the Government’s preferred option is to abolish these bodies, ministers are willing to consider alternatives to abolition and would like to know the views of respondents before reaching a final decision."
The consultation will run from 16 October to 12 November 2012.
The questions Defra is asking include:
1. Do you agree that employment legislation in the agriculture sector should be simplified? If not, please give your reasons.
2. Do you agree that agricultural workers in England and Wales should be brought within the same minimum employment terms and conditions as workers in all other sectors of the economy? If not, please give your reasons why you believe there should still be a separate regime for agriculture.
3. Do you agree with the Government’s proposal to abolish the Agricultural Wages Board, Agricultural Wages Committees, Agricultural Dwelling House Advisory Committees, and the agricultural minimum wage regime? If not, please give your reason why you disagree?
4. Do you have any additional points or options you would like Ministers to consider before making their final decision?
The proposed abolition of the AWB was first announced by the then Secretary of State for the Environment, the Rt Hon Caroline Spelman MP in July 2010 as part of the Government’s programme of public body reform.
HTA policy manager Gary Scroby said: "We have long argued that the sector should fall in line with the rest of the economy and adopt modern employment legislation provided by the National Minimum Wage Act and the Working Time Regulations.
"Removing the AWB will reduce bureaucracy and help UK growers remain competitive in an increasingly challenging market place. We are therefore pleased that this consultation has been launched, and look forward to the AWB’s abolition as soon as possible."
For more information go to www.defra.gov.uk/consult/open. David Brown is co-ordinating the HTA response: Contact David.Brown@the-hta.org.uk