MPs hear realities of National Living Wage in horticulture

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UK growers have told MPs about the potential impact of the National Living Wage on horticulture.

At a meeting in Westminster yesterday, organized by the NFU, MPs from across all parties were given the hard facts and heard testimonials from growers.

They set out what the legislation will mean for horticultural businesses across the country.

NFU Deputy President Minette Batters said: “The NFU fully supports the principle of a living wage for all workers in the horticultural and agricultural industry, and we were delighted to see that MPs were happy to engage in this conversation. However, we would ask Defra ministers to speak to us directly about where they stand on this issue and to take our points very seriously about the impact this move will have.

“It is essential all MPs understand the profound effect the introduction of a living wage will have on UK farming, particularly for labour-intensive crops such as hand-picked fruit, vegetables, flowers and plants. We are not against the national living wage, but we are concerned that the speed of its implementation and lack of consultation will have a devastating impact on our industry.

“Our growers welcomed the chance to explain face–to-face that we need government help to mitigate some of the immediate impacts, or our businesses will fail. We especially urged MPs to back our key ask for there to be no Employers National Insurance contributions for seasonal workers.”

MP for Faversham and Mid-Kent, Helen Whately, who led the event said: “Since last summer’s Budget, the introduction of the National Living Wage has been a frequent conversation topic with local farmers. I have been pressing the government to help farmers and did so again in Westminster this week by agreeing to sponsor the NFU’s Living Wage event.”

The NFU has lobbied on eight key issues  prior to the introduction of the National Living Wage.

The introduction of the National Living Wage will increase the cost of seasonal wages for grower businesses by 35 per cent over the period 2016-2021, equivalent to an average annual wage inflation of just under 7 per cent per year, significantly more than the 2.5 per cent annual rate of wage inflation growers reasonably expected to take place over the next few years.

Our key lobbying asks…

_32801_32800_32797_32799_32798_32795National Living Wage Asks 2, February 2016 Westminster event, horticulture_32796_32794


Last edited on: 10:02:2016

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  • Posted by: John Ll EdwardsPosted on: 10/02/2016 20:03:42

    Comment: Everybody talks about the living wage and the impact of raising the threshold of wages rising to some £9 per hour but no one, especially government seems to grasp the reality of the far wider impact of this across the whole wage spectrum. When the lower end of wages rises from around £6 to £9 per hour what happens to the people already on £9 per hour now is obvious, they will need to keep the difference margin and therefore will need £12 per hour, then they will want £15 and so on along the scale,making every wage bill in the country increase dramatically. \the end result is of course this increase in cost can not be swallowed up by any employer and will have to pass on the increase to the consumer, whom is in fact the person receiving the increase to £9 in the first place and will be no better off because everything they buy will cost more due to increased production costs. The big irony here is we in the UK will be even worse off as producers because imported products will cost the same as now whereas what is left of home produced material will be widely undercut by cheap imports. Has no one in government got the sense to see this disaster looming in front of us. as stated this will not only affect the farming community but every industry doing its best to survive in this country to pay taxes to keep all these very wise government officials in work!!!!!!!!
  • Posted by: Barbara DibleyPosted on: 14/02/2016 18:38:09

    Comment: The implications of the Living Wage seem to increase. I use agency workers and their rates went up by 90p last October to cover the increases in Minimum Wage, Living Wage and pensions. But that is a few months before the Living Wage comes in so I am paying the increase ahead of it being introduced, Also the agencies are going to pay ALL workers the Living Wage rate irrespective of age, They do not want to be put in the position of customers asking for workers aged under 25. That means that agency workers are going to be paid better than many younger permanent workers in many jobs. This is also going to act as a massive draw for yet more people to come to the UK from Europe.

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