The National Living Wage (NLW) could make British strawberries an “unaffordable luxury”, according to a new report.
The report commissioned by the National Farmers’ Union (NFU) exposes the danger of crop production moving abroad as a result of NLW increases over the next four years.
The modelling by consultants Andersons shows that horticultural businesses will be made uncompetitive and unprofitable within three to four years of the NLW introduction.
NFU horticulture and potatoes vice chairman Ali Capper said: “We need to help mitigate some of the immediate impacts, or our businesses will fail.
“We are also urging the food supply chain and retailers to consider National Living Wage costs, so that British farm businesses can continue to supply high quality affordable food to British consumers. Our growers must have certainty that a margin over costs can be achieved.”
Jean Fleet of Spar Emneth, Norfolk, said strawberries were “extremely important” to the business.
“We are fortunate enough to have fresh [deliveries] daily, if not twice a daym sometimes straight from a farm less than a mile away. We have built up quite a reputation for our strawberries, I do not get any strawberries from elsewhere and in particular imported ones as they do not come anywhere near as good.”