Trade bodies renew call for AWB to be scrapped

The HTA and NFU have again called for the abolition of the Agricultural Wages Board (AWB), which is likely to confirm a 4.3 per cent pay rise for agricultural and horticultural workers tomorrow (Friday).

AWB NFU member Derek Jarman, of Hayloft Plants, said: "The rate is too high for agriculture and horticulture ... For horticulture that means the acceleration of change - the big getting bigger, the small going down the retail route and the medium disappearing. The AWB costs Defra £1m to £2m a year but won't be abolished while Labour is in power."

HTA commercial services director Andrew Maxted said: "The AWB is an anomaly with the Low Pay Commission in existence.

"It's the last of the pay bodies and is past its sell-by date. Two per cent is the norm. Business is seeing a government-sponsored review body recommend over twice that level. It's difficult to get the consumer to pay more so the pay body suggesting doubling the going pay rate is a bit rich."

A Defra representative said the Government is committed to maintaining the AWB.

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