Plant and flower industry call for urgent action on import cost hikes

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In an open letter ahead of the General Election, the UK’s Horticultural Trades Association and sister associations from across Europe have stressed the urgent need for political attention to the mounting cost crises of imports.

The letter calls for engagement and action on costs, systems, data, and future plans. It provides multiple examples of the costs and challenges hitting real-life SMEs throughout the supply chain and where costs and pinch-points are reducing the viability of trade for many.

James Barnes, HTA’s Chairman, commented: “We are two months into a fundamental shift in how the UK environmental horticulture sector supply chains operate, leaving the sector with cost hikes and uncertainty at all stages in the import process. The general election has diverted political attention from a crisis in how we supply the UK’s 30 million gardeners, the viability of a sector worth £28.8 billion to GDP and employing almost 700,000 jobs.

“With the election just days away, the industry is calling for urgent engagement and action to ensure the UK’s border policy is fit for moving plants and flowers this season and to sustain future green growth. As an industry, we face pressures across the board, from weather to regulations to sector-specific issues, like Plant Breeders’ Rights. We ask all politicians and policymakers to act swiftly to smooth out border challenges, address costs and take seriously the sector’s need for an SPS or plant health agreement with the EU.

“We are a sector ideally placed to deliver on the challenges of any government – from green growth to net-zero, health and wellbeing to innovation – very few industries can provide the solutions for so much. With our partners across Europe, we hope to see such close collaborative working resume here in the UK to deliver for environmental horticulture and the nation as a whole.”

The full letter can be read here.

For more information:
Horticultural Trades Association

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