No policy 'magic bullet', says HTA's Wigglesworth

New HTA president Adam Wigglesworth has said he hopes Sunday trading will mitigate rises in minimum wages, that members need to "make up their owns minds" whether importing is a good thing and the industry needs to be "robust" on threats to active control ingredients.

HTA president Adam Wigglesworth
HTA president Adam Wigglesworth

The director of Aylett Nurseries, who became president this month, added that the HTA is now "very proactive" and chief executive Carol Paris is "dynamic". He said since joining the HTA board in March 2014: "My job has been upholding one of the main tenets - collaboration."

There is no policy "magic bullet" to fix industry issues, he added. "A lot of people want us to do something that fixes something but that's not possible." It is better to collaborate and spread the message of the benefits of horticulture "drip, drip, drip", said Wigglesworth.

On planned hikes in the National Living Wage, announced in the 2015 Budget, he said: "It is clearly going to make a significant impact on many businesses when we want to encourage people into horticulture and retail. I'm surprised at the speed of it and the way it was announced, and there's scope to encourage mitigation and one of which is Sunday trading legislation."

On NGO and re-registration threats to glyphosate, Wigglesworth said: "We need to be robust but sensible." Many actives are going under legislative pressure, he added. "We have many customers in shop asking for things that are no longer available and they can't understand why. On the other hand, things are changing and a lot of chemicals we used to recommend we rightly don't any more."

Sunday trading: the right people are pressing the right buttons

On Sunday trading, which is undergoing a consultation on a proposal to extend trading hours, new HTA president Adam Wigglesworth (pictured) said: "I’m very enthusiastic about getting it through. The market has changed with internet retailing and now is the time the Government sees fit to look at it. The right people are pressing the right buttons.

"I feel to a certain extent the smaller retailer has been penalised by the Sunday trading ban because they have not been able to put money into the internet and suffered unduly. We need to go with the majority and put our weight behind it. We’re closer than we have been for a while."

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