Horticultural Trades Association reaction to Spring Statement 2024

Fran Barnes, Horticultural Trades Association (HTA) Chief Executive, said:  

“Today’s Spring Statement reflects where we are electorally but not the reality of those running businesses in environmental horticulture. We recognised the context when we set out our five key areas for action by the Chancellor. Trade and borders are a pressing issue, so we are disappointed that the Chancellor did not respond to the HTA’s urgent asks on costs, capacity and clarity on the imminent April 2024 border changes. This shift in how we operate comes when we also face a universal wage hike, delays in deliveries caused by global challenges, investment in the transition to peat-free, and a leap in business rates. All of which result in massive costs for businesses across the sector as we look to our busiest season. The Chancellor has missed an opportunity to act now and boost a mostly SME sector that delivers so much for the economy, environment, and 30 million gardeners.

“The Chancellor’s acknowledgement and investment in crime reduction is welcome, but we need to see that action expedited to deliver results quickly. We also welcome the raised VAT threshold and previously announced full expensing. Our sector contributes £28.8bn to GDP and supports 674,000 jobs across the supply chain; we must not be overlooked.

“As the Chancellor acknowledges, green industries and SMEs are key to future growth. We urge the government to truly back sectors like environmental horticulture, which can deliver both environmentally and economically, innovate, and support big, costly issues like health and wellbeing.”


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