Below are listed the key government departments affecting ornamental horticulture in England, with the relevant ministers and their respective responsibilities.

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

This reshuffle included significant changes at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) with the appointment of a new Secretary of State, Rt Hon Michael Gove, MP. This was a surprise appointment given that Mr Gove had previously been sacked by Theresa May but it could represent an acknowledgment of the challenges that this government department faces in light of Brexit and the need for an experienced politician to be at the helm.

George Eustice MP remains as Minister of State for the Department, with many of the same responsibilities:

  • Food and farming
    • Common Agricultural Policy
    • Apprenticeships
    • Exports
  • Fisheries
  • Horticulture
  • Better regulation
  • Science and innovation

Thérèse Coffey MP is Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Environment  – replacing Rory Stewart MP as the junior minister.

Her role covers:

  • Natural environment including:
    • Biodiversity
    • The marine environment
    • International wildlife trafficking
  • 25 Year Environment Plan
  • Forestry
  • Floods, water and waterways
  • Air quality
  • Resource & environment management

Lord Gardiner of Kimble is the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Rural Affairs and Biosecurity. In this role, he represents Defra in the House of Lords on a more formal basis.

His brief includes:

  • Biosecurity strategy
  • Commercial projects
  • Landscape
  • Climate change adaptation
  • National Pollinator Strategy

Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy

The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), formally known as Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) is tasked with developing a coherent industrial strategy for the UK post-Brexit. The Ornamental Horticulture Roundtable Group submitted a joint response to the consultation that was held in order to feed into the Industrial Strategy.

The key minister of relevance to the horticulture and garden retail industry at BEIS is Kelly Tolhurst MP, Minister for Small Business, Consumers and Corporate Responsibility who reports to the Secretary of State Rt Hon Greg Clark MP.

Kelly Tolhurst's remit includes:

  • Small business
  • Retail sector
  • Consumer and competition
    • Energy retail markets;
    • Competition law; and,
    • Companies House
  • Labour markets 
  • National minimum wage

Department for Education

As part of the wider change across departments, responsibility over further and higher education and skills including apprenticeships, has been transferred to the Department for Education with Anne Milton MP, as Minister for Apprenticeships & Skills.

The Secretary of State for this department is the Rt Hon Damien Hinds MP.

Sam Gyimah MP holds a joint position as Minister for Higher Education in both the Department for Education and the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy

Department for Exiting the European Union

The Secretary of State for this department is the Rt Hon Dominic Raab MP


Dated July 2018