UK ornamental growers are calling for a similar scheme to that given to their Dutch counterparts to help them through the challenge of COVID-19. They say without such a move they are unable to compete with the Dutch industry which received a one-off grant of €600 million (around £540 million) from its government.
HTA Chairman, James Barnes, commented, “Without the introduction of a grant aid scheme for British growers, these continue to be very worrying times for businesses.
“Horticultural businesses that are still facing insolvency are vital in supporting a green recovery, offering green jobs within a growing market sector, assisting with 50 per cent of the Government’s ambitions set out in the 25 Year Environment Plan and having a positive impact on the UK’s biosecurity strategy. We urge Government not to forget them in their efforts to launch a bigger, better, faster recovery programme for the UK.”
The ornamentals sector in the UK had originally asked for some £250 million, but now says any support will help. The situation has been compounded as UK garden centres have increased their demand for plants on re-opening, increasing prices at the Dutch Auctions.
HTA ornamentals committee chairman Martin Emmett, who is a director at Farplants, one of Britain’s biggest growers of plants for the trade, says: “It would appear many Dutch counterparts have been better served than we are, not least by their compensation scheme but also because their garden centres stayed open and their auction system offered good returns during May and June. So, coming up we’re facing stiff competition from Dutch imports.”
HTA added, “A weakened horticultural industry will result in Britain becoming more reliant on imports, with risks of devastating pests and diseases such as Xylella fastidiosa.”
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