Chancellor's spending plan shift could assist landscape industry

Fast-tracking government spending on public-sector projects including schools, hospitals and social housing could provide a "shining light" for the landscaping sector in the coming months.

Chancellor Alistair Darling has announced a "re-prioritising" of government spending plans in a bid to prop up the economy.

The Treasury is expected to be fast-tracking construction schemes using money now that had been earmarked for future years.

HTA chairman and Johnsons of Whixley managing director Andrew Richardson said he was keen to see action. "This should instil some confidence but we need to tug the chancellor's coat tails to see the money is actually there," he urged.

"The proof is in the pudding and how soon we see the money there. But the real problem is the length of time it takes to get planning permission on these schemes."

Projects such as the £9bn Olympics and £16bn Crossrail scheme are still set to go ahead, and the additional work from smaller public-sector works could boost the sector, as long as landscaping is a key element, said Coles Nurseries managing director James Coles.

"The economic issues haven't hit home in our sector yet, but I'm fully expecting they will in the new year; the construction market has more or less ceased," he explained.

"But if the Government is willing to put big money into projects it could be good for our sector."

During an interview with the Sunday Telegraph last week, the chancellor admitted government borrowing would have to rise to pay for the work, which could include pushing forward schemes such as the Building Schools for the Future programme.

BALI chairman and Premier One Land Services managing director John Gillan said: "The Government is already in debt and if it is bringing forward more projects through borrowing at some point it has to pay the piper.

"But the quicker the projects can be brought up and running, the bigger the positive impacts for the landscaping sector will be."

Darling will flesh out many of his proposals in the Pre-Budget Report, expected in the next few weeks.

Crowders sales manager Tom Owen said: "The shining lights for our industry are the schools and hospitals programmes. If suppliers are working with the landscape architects on those projects they will do well."

Hillier Nurseries amenity division director Hossein Arshadi said: "If the initiatives get off the ground it will have a positive impact. Landscape contractors buy things other than trees and shrubs so it will spread across the whole industry."

Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins

Sign up now
Already registered?
Sign in

Before commenting please read our rules for commenting on articles.

If you see a comment you find offensive, you can flag it as inappropriate. In the top right-hand corner of an individual comment, you will see 'flag as inappropriate'. Clicking this prompts us to review the comment. For further information see our rules for commenting on articles.

comments powered by Disqus

Read These Next

Sargent's solutions - how to attract the best staff for your business

Sargent's solutions - how to attract the best staff for your business

There are ways to find quality candidates for horticultural jobs if you widen your search parameters, Alan Sargent suggests.

Business Planning - Staff are your greatest asset

Business Planning - Staff are your greatest asset

An effective strategy to retain staff is the best way for any business to avoid a potential recruitment crisis, Neville Stein advises.

IoG Saltex 2017 - Kit showcase

IoG Saltex 2017 - Kit showcase

Mowers, turf care, battery equipment, seeds, arboriculture kit and weed control will all see a wide range of new releases at Saltex, Sally Drury reports.

Horticulture Jobs
More Horticulture Jobs

IOG Saltex

Get set for IoG Saltex 2017 with our comprehensive show guide and exhibitor info.

Are you a landscape supplier?

Horticulture Week Landscape Project Leads

If so, you should be receiving our new service for Horticulture Week subscribers delivering landscape project leads from live, approved, planning applications across the UK.

Industry Data

An exclusive report for HW subscribers revealing the key development trends, clients and locations for 2017.

Products & Kit Resources

BALI National Landscape Awards 2016

Read all about the winning projects in the awards, run in association with Horticulture Week.

Noel Farrer

Founding partner of Farrer Huxley Associates Noel Farrer on landscape and green space

Read Noel Farrer