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Does the UK need a Minister for Horticulture?

By George Storr
15th March 2021

Horticulture is a hugely important industry in the UK - and not just because so many of you have taken up gardening during lockdown! The industry is worth billions to the UK economy and now frustrated horticulturalists are banding together in an attempt to make their voice heard.

Lewis Normand is one of those horticulturalists. The plantsman, gardener and garden designer has started a petition which demands that the government establishes a ‘Minister for Horticulture’ position to better represent the industry and associated professions.

Over a thousand signatures have already been collected and Lewis wants to encourage many more growers to support the cause. Here’s his statement on Change.org:

In 2018 UK Horticulture was valued by the Horticultural Trades Association at £24.2 billion per year. UK Horticulture employs over half a million people representing 1 in every 62 jobs. Even ignoring the financial value of Horticulture to the economy, the environmental, social, cultural, leisure, culinary and aesthetic value of the industry should not go unnoticed or unheard.

Where many other industries are supported with a voice in parliament, Horticulture often goes unnoticed, as an extension of Agriculture.  Fisheries, while important, contributes a little over £1.4 billion a year in the UK and yet has better parliamentary representation.  The UK Horticultural industry is too big to be ill-represented in government and through opposition parties. 

Governmental targets to plant trees at a greater rate in the UK than ever before, to beautify and improve air quality in our cities, to encourage people to lead active and healthy lifestyles and so much more depend on Horticulture.

A dedicated Minister for Horticulture could greatly help to improve understanding at a national level of the value of the industry. This Minister, could be a supportive voice in parliament and could lead the way in setting the agenda of making the UK one of the greenest and more sustainable countries in the world going forward. 

We have the industry, but we lack the voices in parliament to represent those employed and drive change for all. We need a Minister for Horticulture to represent, Growers, Garden Centres, Nurseries, Smaller Food Producers, Florists and Floristry Suppliers, Tree Surgeons, Gardeners, Landscape Contractors, Botanists, Plant and Soil Scientists, Garden Designers, Landscape Architects, Compost Producers, Foresters and Arboriculturists, Chemical, Tool and Equipment Manufacturers, Educators and Trainers, Landscape Managers, Botanical Collections, Trade Bodies and myriad other specialist professionals working in Horticulture across the UK.

If you want to sign the petition, follow this link.

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