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UK horticulture to be hit again by cost hike, says the HTA

by | 03 Apr 24 | Commercial Landscaping, Domestic Landscaping, News | 0 comments

Concerns are growing for UK horticulture as it prepares to take yet another hit from the rise in import costs.

The Horticultural Trades Association (HTA) has today in a statement expressed its concern for the sector following the announcement of the common user charge (CUC).

As part of the import controls under the Border Target Operating Model scheduled to be introduced on 30 April this year, the CUC will apply to commercial imports of animal products, plants and plant products through the Port of Dover and Eurotunnel, both on transits entering and leaving Great Britain.

With 90% of UK growers importing plants at some stage in the growing cycle, HTA chairman, James Barnes says this will be “a huge new cost burden for many, hitting SMEs hard, particularly those using groupage.”

He goes on to say that while “it is a relief that we at last have the headlines of the CUC” the UK horticulture sector is expected to be the “highest user of BCPs, a majority of which are SMEs already experiencing wider increased cost pressures, we had sought an early announcement for business planning and certainty, a simple and proportionate approach per phytosanitary certificate.”

Adding that while the CUC is critical, it is “just one part of the jigsaw of the April border changes, a puzzle that is far from solved.”

Expressing concern that the BCP set to be introduced at present does not have the “capability to handle many of our loads, let alone the volume.

“This CUC announcement and border changes come at the worst time. The charges will undoubtedly increase costs, potentially reduce consumer choice, and increase the likelihood of empty shelves, thereby impacting biodiversity and meeting our nation’s environmental targets.”

For more details about the CUC, visit gov.uk/guidance/common-user-charge-rates-and-eligibility

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