Mary Creagh MP, Labour’s Shadow Environment and Rural Affairs Secretary, said ahead of today’s House of Commons Opposition Day debate on the Agricultural Wages Board:
“The Tories and their Lib Dem friends should be ashamed of their decision to scrap the Agricultural Wages Board. And perhaps they are, since it took Labour stepping in to get a vote on it in Parliament. The Tory-led Government’s abolition of the Agricultural Wages Board will be a bitter blow to the rural economy and low-paid farm workers already struggling to make ends meet.
“It means lower wages for farm workers, and a hit to the countryside’s economy of £260 million out of village high streets over ten years. The Tories and Lib Dems are creating a race to the bottom in rural wages, hitting living standards and increasing social deprivation. We in the Labour Party believe that the people who grow and pick our fruit should also be able to afford to buy it in the shops. We a need a One Nation plan for the countryside to tackle the rural cost of living crisis, protect buses and public services, and invest in rural jobs and growth."
The Agricultural Wages Board set rates of pay for over 150,000 workers across the country, including in over 20 marginal constituencies which Labour has designated as battleground seats at the next General Election.