The HTA is in conversation with Government about compensation for growers and reopening garden centres. It has released the results of a grower survey last week, which shows that unless something is done within two weeks, between a third and a half of our seasonal growing sector could be lost.
The HTA report reveals that the government’s current proposed aid package does not work for growers and that a third will be insolvent by the end of the year.
- Around one in three businesses say that even with access to UK Government aid packages they are likely to be insolvent this year.
- More than one in ten UK growers (13%) claim that they will out of business by the end of June.
- Unless action is taken in the next two weeks a large range of homegrown British plants may not be available for up to two years, which will increase imports and leave the UK open to the risk of infectious diseases and pests.
- Alan Titchmarsh is joined by UK’s top gardeners to support industry and launches new campaign #KeepBritainBlooming.
Government’s aid package does not work
The HTA is asking for a compensation scheme to be set up, claiming that the UK Government’s aid package simply does not work for the horticultural industry.
- Less than one in five growers have received help through the Government’s business support measures,
- while just 1% has received financial support from the government’s Coronavirus Business Interruption Loans scheme (CBILS).
- 62% said that they were not eligible for business support grants,
- while 79% of growers are not entitled to any kind of rates relief.
The only way of rescuing this sector is… a simple compensation scheme
In the Netherlands, the Government has announced a scheme to help its industry while at the same time leaving garden centres open, meaning that Dutch growers will be perfectly positioned to supply the UK market if the British sector collapses.
James Barnes, Chair of the HTA said, “We’re now at the end of April and the only way of rescuing this sector is to pursue a simple compensation scheme like the system announced by the Dutch Government, which will save its horticultural industry. We should do the same.
“However, the cost of this scheme would be significantly reduced by allowing garden centres to sell plants and gardening equipment as soon as possible. Unless something is done in the next two weeks, we could lose between a third and a half of our seasonal growing sector. Around 70% of plant sales are made between March and the end of May. Many of these growers are facing a near-complete loss of income due to the coronavirus.”
TV gardeners ask millions to keep Britain blooming
An army of TV gardeners have backed Alan Titchmarsh MBE who said, “…our beloved British garden industry is on the brink of destruction. The longer the delay continues, the more costly the solution.
“Europe has stolen a march on the UK and already prepared its horticulture industry for the future. Without a similar financial lifeline, many of our growers will go under and even more, plants will need to be imported from Europe.
“We are asking the public to support our campaign to #KeepBritainBlooming and to recognise the joy that plants bring to millions of gardeners across the country. Opening garden centres now, with the same safety measures employed as in supermarkets, will give people across the country access to plants, encourage them to garden, stay healthy and productive at home and help save an industry at the heart of British life.”