'Lifeline' for plant and flower growers as garden centres set to reopen

Cyclamen in a glasshouse_12020Responding to the decision to allow garden centres to reopen from Wednesday, NFU President Minette Batters said: “Opening garden centres provides a lifeline for British plant and flower growers that have been devastated by the near complete loss of their market this year.

“The overnight closure in March of garden centres, florists and other retail outlets resulted in growers losing significant proportions of their perishable stock products, pushing many of these vital businesses to near collapse. 

“On behalf of its members, the NFU has raised this issue with MPs across Parliament, stressing the need for garden centres to be allowed to reopen as soon as it was safe to do so. We are pleased the government has concluded now is the right time.

“I know this will be great news for gardeners and provides some relief for growers, but reopening garden centres is not the total solution to the issues facing the industry. It remains the case that they will still need proper financial support to ensure they can survive, having already lost the vast majority of the peak season already.

“Thousands of family businesses, built up over generations, have been supplying the country’s growing appetite for gardening over the years and we want to ensure they survive to continue meeting this demand with fantastic British-grown plants.

“I would encourage the public to look out for British plants and flowers if they are visiting garden centres, specialist plant nurseries and supermarkets, or if they’re shopping online.”

  • The NFU is asking the government to:
    • Provide financial grant support to businesses which have had to dispose of stock.
    • Enable growers to have better access to existing government support, including the CBILS scheme by extending the repayment period to at least 10 years and removing the state aid restrictions.
  • The British ornamentals and landscaping sector contributed £24.2 billion to national GDP in 2017, supported 587,700 jobs and contributed £5.4 billion in tax revenues.
  • The Horticultural Trades Association estimates that nearly a third of businesses could be lost as a result of the lockdown restrictions. The 2020 crop (flowers and bulbs, pot plants and hardy nursery stock) is estimated to be worth £1.4 billion. The HTA estimate that compensation up to £250 million is needed.

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