The HTA (Horticultural Trades Association) is calling for government backing to relieve the ‘mounting pressures’ being felt across the UK horticulture industry.
The strain incurred from rising inflation and energy costs, and the on-going skill shortages, regulatory changes and fluctuating consumer confidence over the last several months have become evident across the UK horticultural industry.
In response to this week’s Autumn Budget, Fran Barnes, HTA chief executive says: “We must be able to benefit from the Autumn Statement commitments to increase apprenticeships in order to help us recruit for the evolving breadth of roles in our sector and the changing skills needs of the industry.
“Horticultural businesses also need to gain from the announced expedited planning processes so that the value of gardens and green spaces can be maximised in planning reform.”
The HTA has also expressed disappointment in the chancellor’s lack of response to its requests on the April 2024 border changes.
“We need action and support to keep the UK cross-border trade in plants working. In 2022, the UK imported £753m of plants, bulbs and seeds. The trade and economic risks associated with delays and lost loads are hugely concerning.
“We urge the government to back sectors like environmental horticultural, the original green industry, which is ideally placed to deliver even more to achieve UK net-zero, innovation, levelling-up, and green growth ambitions.”
The horticultural sector contributes almost £30bn to GDP and supports over 670,000 jobs across the supply chain.
Barnes concluded the HTA’s response with: “We must not be overlooked.”