Budget reaction: HTA calls on government to harness the power of gardeners in building back greener

by | Oct 28, 2021 | News | 0 comments


Reacting to the Chancellor’s announcement today on funding for new T-levels, James Clark, Director of Policy and Communications at the Horticultural Trades Association (HTA), highlighted the role UK horticulture plays in ‘greening the economy’ and tackling climate change, but warned that the time taken to get sector-specific T-levels up and running, the ‘mixed bag’ of changes to business taxes and uncertainties of seasonal labour availability for next year, was acting against the ‘green growth’ opportunities the sector provides: 

“The UK horticulture sector is the ‘original green economy’ – we can grow to being a £42bn-worth industry by 2030. That includes creating new and exciting jobs. The Chancellor’s emphasis on ‘upskilling’ the workforce is welcome but does not go far enough for our sector, which is struggling to fill vacancies across the board. 

“We’re being prevented from unlocking this growth potential by a skills gap and lack of labour. T-levels are one opportunity to address this issue, but they don’t overcome a fundamental lack of college courses in the skills we need as a sector, not to mention that the relevant T-level subjects for our industry don’t come online until 2023.  

“We also need urgent action from the government on seasonal labour rules for next year – we’re calling for the Seasonal Workers Pilot Scheme to continue and a very simple measure of including ornamental horticulture in the existing numbers, supported by an extension of three months to the current visa system. This will cover the Spring and Autumn ‘shoulders’ of the season when plants are picked in fields and trees produced. If not, the Government’s environment targets are not going to be met. 

“The announcement today of a 50 per cent relief for retail business rates will be appreciated by garden centres. Garden centres, nurseries and garden industry manufacturers will welcome the investment relief for solar panels – with large buildings, our sector is well-placed to maximise the use of solar energy. Yet this is offset by increases in National Living Wage – while good for individuals – and further hikes in corporation tax and national insurance contributions which will make our UK industry less competitive. It undermines efforts to invest in the workforce. This is on top of the additional extra costs and burdens we already face doing trade overseas. 

“Our call to the Government today is to harness the power of the UK’s 30m gardeners and millions of green space users, by backing the industry that produces and sells the products consumers want to ‘build back greener’. ” 

more latest news ➡

Bents promotes Emma Kelly to Commercial Director

Bents promotes Emma Kelly to Commercial Director

Bents Garden & Home has taken a significant step as it plans for the future by promoting Emma Kelly to Commercial Director, a position that has been specifically created to support the management structure at the family owned and run business. Emma has been...

Longacres partners with Smiemans for expansion

Longacres expansion set to get underway

Longacres, the UK's largest independent garden centre, is to be extended by Smiemans Projecten in early 2025. The work includes the garden centre's cold sales area and restaurant. The wide-span extension will be constructed with high performance polycarbonate and...

New logo for the Bransford Webbs Plant Company

A fresh, new look for The Bransford Webbs Plant Company

The Bransford Webbs Plant Company is proud to unveil a new company logo, launching at The 2024 National Plant Show at Stoneleigh Park. An evolution of the original Bransford Webbs logo introduced almost twenty years ago; the heritage shades of purple and green have...

GCA CEO Peter Burks hosting a free sustainability webinar this month with the focus on water and ‘navigating the green minefield’

Free sustainability webinar for GCA members

Garden Centre Association (GCA) members will hear from a trio of sustainability experts during a free webinar this month (June 2024). The GCA is hosting the online event on June 26 from 3-4.30pm and it will cover water conservation and how to navigate environmental...

Read GCR's latest edition!

Subscribe ToThe Wednesday Word

Subscribe To
The Wednesday Word


Get all the latest news, events & more straight to your inbox every Wednesday.

You have Successfully Subscribed!

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This