What makes the situation even more unforgivable is that the classification of levy funds as public money was raised by industry representatives directly with the environment secretary more than a year ago. How could the board not know?
Tiring of this latest dose of Whitehall sclerosis, bodies across the ornamentals sector — which faces the double whammy of losing its last direct source of R&D funding in the shape of HortLINK — are taking a united stand, pursuing plans for an arm's-length vehicle that can get round the constraints.
Their action is a great example of the kind of "unity of purpose" that Professor Geoff Dixon notes will be required by the bucket load if horticulture is to secure a better year across all its diverse sectors in 2010.
In the green space sector too, the urgent need for interest groups to present a united front has been recognised by members of the Green Link partnership in advance of what will be a tough year in public sector circles. Here's to the success of such initiatives — and more examples of united industry action in 2010.