Tapping investment confidence

While this week's warning from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation & Development that the UK is likely to slip back into recession is deeply disappointing, it is unlikely to have caused much surprise given recent events within the eurozone and worsening consumer confidence.

After a forecasted contraction in growth in 2011's final quarter of 0.1 per cent and a further 0.6 per cent contraction in the first quarter of next year, the UK is expected to begin a slow climb back with growth of 0.5 per cent next year and 1.8 per cent in 2013.

Despite the worsening economic conditions, there are bright spots of positivity in horticulture. Take the strong orders being recorded by bedding growers, who have been quick of the mark in making the most of the double plant sales opportunity presented by next year's national celebrations for the London Olympics and the Queen's Golden Jubilee.

Elsewhere life is decidedly tough. As we saw last week, the landscape sector is reporting very mixed fortunes. Some have work for several months ahead but many more are struggling to get three months worth of orders scheduled. Meanwhile, pricing is more aggressive and decisions are taking longer.

For that sector at least the chancellor's autumn statement with its promise of an uplift in investment in infrastructure projects cannot come a moment too soon. Yes, the actual projects are a long way off and the landscape sector as ever will be at the back of the queue, but the confidence boost the news will give to the construction sector should not be underestimated. In anticipation brokers were busy advising investors to buy construction stock valued at historical lows.

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

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