Fran Barnes, HTA Chief Executive, said, “Today’s Spring Budget has set out an ambition to reduce inflation, give more confidence for capital investment and boost the workforce. As a sector contributing £28.8bn to GDP and supporting 674,000 jobs, we welcome these steps. However, missing from the Chancellor’s four ‘Es’ was action on ‘Environment’. As a naturally green industry, we believe to unlock green growth and boost productivity, government must recognise the role of environmental horticulture in delivering for the UK economy, environment and health and well-being.
“This Spring Budget could have been the moment to tackle barriers to our growth, with challenges on trade and borders, regulatory impacts, energy and water resilience being felt here and now. On water, government itself has acknowledged we are on the precipice of another drought year – we had hoped to see support to increase drought resilience for the Summer. On energy, we have called for government to include glass houses in the Energy and Trade Intensive Industries (ETII) scheme to support our great UK growers, and await a response.
“Investment zones supporting the natural environment is great news and we hope that this includes greater support for green spaces. Having reorganised Whitehall just weeks ago to dedicate a department to Net-Zero and not to see this recognised in today’s Budget is a missed opportunity. We hope this can be addressed and reiterate that Environmental Horticulture is a green industry, ideally placed to help deliver on carbon sequestration, sustainability and Net-Zero targets.”