Levy rates applied to growers by the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB) for next financial year – from 1 April 2020 to 31 March 2021 – have been approved by UK Ministers.
The GB Horticulture levy rate is to decrease by 10 per cent. For the majority of horticulture growers, this takes their levy down from 0.5% to 0.45% of business turnover from 1 April 2020. For mushroom growers, it takes their levy down from 8.0 to 7.2 pence per litre for agaricus spawn and 2.0 to 1.8 pence per litre for non-agaricus spawn.
The GB horticulture industry is changing and as it does, AHDB’s work for the horticulture sector is becoming more focused. The sector is also under sustained financial pressure and the scale of levy is a big bill for a lot of growers. Therefore, the AHDB Board recommended lowering the rate to Ministers. This follows initial work by a horticulture levy working group, made up from AHDB staff and a cross-section of growers, that has been reviewing the horticulture levy rate and the levy calculation mechanism within the Statutory Instrument to make it fairer, simpler and more proportionate for growers.
AHDB Horticulture Sector Board Chair Hayley Campbell-Gibbons said: “At a time when the industry faces such enormous pressure and change, it’s vital that AHDB’s horticulture work is more focused, relevant and responsive to growers’ needs than ever before.
“I am confident that this reduced levy rate is achievable without undue disruption. It demonstrates that AHDB is being responsive to the calls for delivering efficiency and better value for money”.
AHDB Horticulture is the largest independent investor of applied research and development having delivered over £30m of funding between 2014 and 2019. The estimated financial impact of this levy rate reduction is approximately £800,000. This reduction will be met through:
- a re-prioritisation of activity – ensuring essential work is unaffected, and AHDB remains responsive to any emerging crises
- an accelerated use of horticulture reserves; and
- a review of costs.
Hayley continued: “The UK horticulture sector remains a fiercely competitive area. I can assure you that our long-term priorities at AHDB remain to tackle the disease, pest and weed challenges growers’ face through applied research, to seek emergency chemical approvals and to promote workforce efficiency and innovation uptake at a time of labour shortage.”
For the list of rates visit – https://ahdb.org.uk/news/levy-rates-agreed-for-2020-21.