Horticulture hit by end of VAT relief in Channel Islands

The end of Low Value Consignment Relief continues to have repercussions in the Channel Islands.

Sixteen employees have been made redundant at Flying Brands following the closure of its growing and live despatch business.

Last month, Flying Brands divested its last remaining retail business—Gardening Direct—to Jersey Choice, the direct seller of plants, seeds and gardening accessories.

In a statement, Flying Brands announced it is in negotiations with Jersey Choice in connection with the proposed lease of the greenhouses and despatch centre at its Retreat Farm property. The company is now considering "strategic options" for its future and the long-term value for shareholders.

Meanwhile, the amount of freight leaving Guernsey has fallen by more than a third since the end of UK tax relief, according to one distributor.

Low Value Consignment Relief (LVCR) allowed VAT to be waived on goods under £15 being imported into the UK.

Martyn Langlois, general manager of Ferryspeed, said since the rule was scrapped on 1 April, the volume they exported had gone down by 39 per cent.

He said: "Over the years we've had the tomato industry, which declined and was then replaced by the flower industry, the flower industry declined and was then replaced by the fulfilment industry. The fulfilment industry's now declined and there's nothing to replace it."

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