DUP North Antrim MLA and Chair of the Agriculture Committee has outlined the party’s response to a DARD review of the Agricultural Wages Board for Northern Ireland.
Commenting Mr Frew said: “In recognition of the need to encourage people to stay and work in their rural communities, the Agricultural Wages Board (AWB) was established in 1977. However, since the introduction of the National Minimum Wage in 1998, the work of the AWB has now become obsolete. In England and Wales the AWB is to be abolished because it no longer serves the purpose it was created to meet.
“It is important that this review is actually meaningful and that the Minister will now demonstrate she will act in the best interests of the agricultural industry, and not simply as an excuse to maintain the failed status quo.
“The AWB has simply become another level of unnecessary bureaucracy. The costs spent by DARD to staff and operate the AWB would be better spent delivering frontline services to farmers. At a time when farmers are being financially disadvantaged, the cutting of bureaucracy and the freeing up of resources and money for worthwhile change is something to be welcomed.
“That is why we have asked the Minister to abolish the AWB, in line with the decision already taken at Westminster.”