Joyless budget

David Gwyther, Director General of the Horticultural Trades Association (HTA) says:

“The Budget Statement contains nothing of joy for our industry, but confirms the horrifying real picture of the national economy that we had all feared. Higher taxes, higher unemployment, lower amenity spending, and lower consumer confidence in the future are not going to help demand. The minor, political gestures on training and credit insurance are too little and too late.
It is therefore good to have seen the substantial sales increases, particularly of plants, our industry has in fact enjoyed over the last few weeks. It is a reminder that we remain resilient in the face of the most awful economic environment for years. The gardening public, including some new younger ones, are taking refuge in their gardens, and spending some of the current benefits of lower interest rates and prices on our products. The trick will be to make sure this trend is sustainable, and that we have the quality, value and innovation of products and services required to retain their enthusiasm. I am pleased that HTA has been able to help leading suppliers and retailers to get their costs down, improve margins and thus to unlock cash for investment and service so that the industry is well placed to survive the storm – a reminder, also, that we cannot rely on having good weather to do this.”
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