The Horticultural Trades Association (HTA) is calling for urgent action to support environmental horticulture’s continued contribution to the UK economy and environment.
A list of proposals has been submitted by the HTA, to the Chancellor of the Exchequer ahead of the 2023 Autumn Budget.
“Our members – right across the supply chain, from growers to garden centres and manufacturers – have shown remarkable resilience in dealing with volatility and challenges around climate change, high inflation, access to a workforce and changes in regulations,” says chief executive of the HTA, Fran Barnes.
The HTA’s budget calls for 2023 include:
A postponement of the shift to Border Control Posts in April next year, to ease transition, as well as readiness funding to support impacted horticultural businesses.
The reduction of regulatory and financial burdens on SMEs, including exemptions from Biodiversity Net Gain regulations for Protected Horticulture, long-term business rates relief and increased investments to improve water resilience and energy efficiency, while addressing the impact of the current economic climate.
Increased support for a sustainable transition to going peat-free, the HTA continues to advocate for the original 2030 timeframe for professional growers to be reinstated.
A wider reform of the Apprenticeship Levy to increase accessibility for SMEs, to support a larger pool of applicants.
An increase in protection for retail businesses in the sector and garden centres, with improved police responses to theft incidents.
Environmental horticulture contributes almost £29bn to the UK economy, supporting over 650,000 jobs, “it has been proven to be invaluable to the nation’s health and wellbeing. It is vital that government recognises and acts upon that.”