Firms hit hard by minimum wage

Wage increases difficult to manage as downward pressure on prices continues.

Pay pundits have confirmed the national minimum wage has had a significant impact on horticulture businesses. The Low Pay Commission (LPC) said it had a “significant impact” on the “labour-intensive, low-skilled and low-paid” parts of the growing industry, “primarily horticulture”. The LPC visited a plant supplier and was told rises in agricultural minimum rates had pushed up labour costs from 25 per cent of turnover five years ago to 36 per cent last year. Meanwhile, a north-western supplier of plants to major retailers said clients were demanding price freezes or reductions. The national minimum wage report included NFU claims that wage increases were hard to manage as farmers faced “continuing downward pressure” on prices. HTA adviser David Brown said: “Rising labour costs and price freezes cause problems. We are pleased the commission recognises the impact of the national minimum wage on horticulture. “The key to members is don’t stop learning, which is why we run business-improvement projects. Look for further efficiencies and take every opportunity to increase prices, which is easier said than done in such a tight market.” But Transport & General Workers Union national secretary for food and agriculture Chris Kaufman said: “It’s laughable to suggest paying the miserly minimum wage is the end of civilisation. If people can’t afford it, they shouldn’t be in business.” The Government set up the LPC in 1998 to advise it on the minimum wage. It recently accepted the commission’s recommended adult minimum wage rise to £5.52.

Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins

Sign up now
Already registered?
Sign in

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

Are you a landscape supplier?

Horticulture Week Landscape Project Leads

If so, you should be receiving our new service for Horticulture Week subscribers delivering landscape project leads from live, approved, planning applications across the UK.