Cuts Watch #142: Agricultural Wages Boards and other Defra funded organisations
Defra has announced that a range of arms length organisations it funds will now cease to exist – including the Agricultural Wages Boards, which fix minimum wages for agricultural workers and regulate terms and conditions in the industry. Other organisations to be cut include the Sustainable Development Commission, the Inland Waterways Advisory Council and the Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution. In addition, a Written Ministerial Statement of 29 June 2010 announced the abolition of the Commission for Rural Communities and the merger of Animal Health and the Veterinary Laboratories Agency.
Will Day, Chair of the Sustainable Development Commission, said:
We are deeply disappointed that the Government has announced its intention to withdraw its funding from the Sustainable Development Commission. Our work has delivered efficiency savings totalling many times what the organisation has cost the Government, and contributed towards much greater sustainability in Government – both in the way it runs itself, and the decisions it makes about our wellbeing and our future.
Unite have been highly critical of the AWB’s abolition, calling it a ‘disaster’ for farming. Their National Officer for Rural, Agricultural & Allied Workers, Ian Waddell, said:
Farming is already suffering from an inability to attract and retain skilled workers. Bad employers will now undercut the good and drive a race to the bottom on pay which will exacerbate the skills shortage and threaten the viability of agriculture in England and Wales.