HTA reacts to new government horticulture offer

A new UK Food Security Index has been published.

A new UK Food Security Index has been published, with the prime minister telling British farmers and growers that more must be done to support them and secure the nation’s food supplies. The first draft allows the government, industry and farmers to monitor the impacts of external factors, such as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine or extreme adverse weather events. 

Rishi Sunak also said that he wants the government to help the horticulture sector to go further to tackle this challenge. As part of this, a new Horticulture Resilience and Growth offer, which will replace the retained EU scheme, will be rolled out.

Through this new initiative, the government will look to double the amount of funding given to horticulture businesses compared to the current scheme, taking it to £80m per year. The prime minister will also launch a review into the barriers the horticulture sector is facing to upscale their businesses, including promising to cut red tape around the building of glasshouses.

The prime minster said
Sunak commented: “This package of support will help farmers produce more British food, delivers on our long-term plan to invest in our rural communities, and ensures the very best of our homegrown products end up on our plates. 

“I know for many farmers, the impact of adverse weather in recent months has made working the land even harder, but my message is clear: our support for you is unwavering and we will be with you every step of the way.”

HTA response
Fran Barnes, chief executive of the Horticultural Trades Association, responded: “The government should not miss the opportunity to support the resilience and growth of environmental horticulture. The environmental, economic and social delivery of gardens and cultivated green spaces is important for our country. 

“Put simply, net zero and environmental improvements cannot be met without our sector. The health and wellbeing benefits of green spaces are widely recognised. It has, therefore, been incredibly disappointing that, despite a House of Lords inquiry recommendation, the government has no strategy for environmental horticulture.

"Environmental horticulture also delivers for the economy, and our sector’s substantial contributions speak volumes, with £28bn added to the British economy, supporting 674,000 jobs and generating £6bn in tax revenues. With the right support, our industry's gross domestic product footprint could exceed £41bn by 2030. There are very few – if any – sectors that can match the economic numbers with the environmental benefits and the social value of environmental horticulture.

The government has an opportunity to create a long-term view to grow our environmental delivery, and we hope they seize it.”

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