Examination of Witnesses

Part of Agriculture Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 2:46 pm on 25th October 2018.

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In fact, just this month, the estate agent and land management advisers Strutt & Parker said in Farmers Weekly:

“It is difficult to justify suggesting that English employers should pay their employees less than they would receive if working in Wales—particularly given the shortages in skilled labour the sector is facing.”

They have recommended pay rises of 2.5% to 3.5% to deal with what is happening in England. That is a very specific example, but the unintended consequence—or perhaps, given the estimates made at the time, a recognised consequence—of the abolition of the Agricultural Wages Board is that conditions on not just pay but sickness, holidays and all the other things that were protected are deteriorating. We are extremely concerned, and there is an opportunity in this Bill to look at what is happening. If we are going to deliver decent agricultural production for the future, we need workers who are recognised and remunerated effectively. Without that, we are in serious danger of not being able to deliver in the way we should.