How will the spending review affect horticulture?

HW asked a selection of industry figures for their views.

"I think in general the cuts have to be made - we have to get the country on an even footing. While it's not good and people are going to loose their jobs, at the end of the day the country will be better off for it.

"I think most people's perception is that it could have been worse. At least now this is out, we will know how bad it is and how much money is in our pockets to spend.

"By Christmas, people will have got their heads around how it is going to affect them."

- Andrew Richardson, joint managing director, Johnsons of Whixley

"This is a great opportunity. Many local authorities have still not outsourced their services and this could give them a push. This will make public bodies work in genuine partnership with private firms.

"We're likely to see more assets being transferred and more private money involved. There are many redundant buildings in parks that could be used by leisure centres or green-living organisations.

"We need imagination and marketing. Parks could generate more income by renting out space to circuses and funfairs. There will be a lot of long-term changes."

- Tony Hewitt, chairman, Parkway Holdings

"Elements of the spending review are going to impact on consumer spending in some areas and that may affect us.

"But I have to say that in my experience in the industry over the past year a lot of garden centres have done really well because consumers are looking for a relaxed environment for a tea or coffee or a meal and a wide range of gardening products.

"Even though there are many potential new unemployed and cuts in public services, I think the spending review will have a fairly marginal impact on garden centres."

- Philip Evason, chairman, HTA retail committee

"People have held off from spending money because they didn't know what was going to happen. Middle-class, middle-income purchases of garden design have dropped.

"Now we know what is happening we need to find out whether people think it's better than or as bad as they expected. It's all about consumer confidence and the jury is out on that at the moment. Garden design is a very big buy.

"People are talking about 20 per cent declines in house prices and whether the cuts have been hard enough."

- Andrew Fisher-Tomlin, garden designer and former Society of Garden Designers chair

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