Homebase is not accepting any price increases from plant suppliers for 2008, according Knowle Hill Plants director Derek Jarman. He said: “We can’t get any more plants in the glasshouse but costs are rising. Our only hope is that we can introduce new plants and charge higher prices for them.” A Homebase representative said: “We’re not doing anything out of the ordinary. We’re always looking for the best price for our customers.” NFU chief horticulture adviser Phil Hudson commented: “If it’s true, it’s very concerning.” Jarman will represent horticulture employers at the Agricultural Wages Board conformation meeting today (28 June) at the Institute of Chartered Engineers, when eight employers, eight union representatives and five independents verify the 2008 AWB award after consultation. Jarman said the 4.5 per cent agreement is too high, especially when compared to “industry and government’s 2.5 per cent average”. He added: “I don’t think they will change it but we’ll wait and see. If they don’t it’s another nail in the coffin of agriculture and horticulture.”
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