Farm minister praises “unsung heroes” at Norfolk conference

PUBLISHED: 14:56 07 March 2011

Farming minister Jim Paice praised the “unsung heroes” of the agricultural industry at a Norfolk conference yesterday.

He told delegates at the 42nd annual conference of the Institute of Agricultural Secretaries and Administrators at Barnham Broom, near Norwich, of his delight to be the body’s patron.

The South-East Cambridgeshire MP told about 100 members: “I do think very strongly that you are a critical part of the farming industry in many ways; you are the unsung heroes.

“When I had access to the institute’s bulletin, I really found out what was going on in my department. It suddenly gave me a completely new perspective.”

Mr Paice, who was also shadow farming minister before promotion to Defra in May last year, said that government had started the process of abolishing the Agricultural Wages Board (AWB).

He said that the legislation was now going through Parliament. “The expectation is that it will take effect somewhere towards the back end of this year.”

There will be one final AWB award this summer, which will come into effect this autumn.

“The next wages settlement will be the last one,” said Mr Paice.

He said that terms and conditions of existing staff would not change.

Mr Paice also said that legislation to create a new post of supermarket ombudsman or adjudicator would be published this month.

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