The Agricultural Wages Board is an anachronism in modern farming, according to the chief of one of Britain’s biggest farming companies.

“The AWB is outdated and with the statutory minimum wage it’s no longer needed,” said James Townshend, managing director of farm management giant Velcourt.

“AWB creates a level of remuneration not seen in any other industry. It’s from a bygone age and we’ve moved a long way away from it as an industry now.”

The minimum wage provided a base line for pay but employers had to reward skills to retain competent, qualified staff, he said.

The Agricultural Wages Board is an independent body which sets minimum wages for workers employed in agriculture in England and Wales, established under the Agricultural Wages Act 1948. The Scottish Agricultural Wages Board fulfils the same function in Scotland.

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