What will the spending review mean for horticulture?

- Brian Donohoe MP, secretary, All-Party Parliamentary Group on Horticulture and Gardening

"Nothing but badness. Given what they are doing to other industries I wouldn't hold out any hope. The good work they (quangos) have done has to be protected. I don't go for quangos per se - I'd rather have them in democratic authority - but the work they undertook has to be transferred to other authorities and it has to be properly funded.

"But it is too early to say. There is no point in speculating until we know, because that can do damage to organisations. I'd rather not give any indication of what we'd look out for."

- Caroline Owen, president, HTA

"I was heartened by Sir Terry Leahy's comments last week. Tesco is the largest retailer in the UK and one of the largest in the world, and if he is thinking the economy is in better shape, I'm heartened by that.

"The FTSE has hit a good mark and I'd like to see more good news. People need to feel good about themselves, but I've not got a feeling that's happening. People are fearful of the future, but it's a case of wait and see."

- Mark Glover, lobbyist

"The spending review is going to be tough. There is likely to be a 25 per cent cut in the money local authorities will have to spend.That's what we're hearing from ministers, though some MPs say it will not be as bad as expected. The biggest area hit will be local government and the money it has to spend on greening the urban environment is under threat. The danger is, unless we make a case for it, the easiest thing to cut will be planting.

"We think the overall size of Defra's budget has already been set, so it's about where horticulture is going to feature against agriculture. We have to discuss with local authorities why they need to keep investing in their urban environment and why any cuts are a short-term measure.

An HTA-led group is meeting Spelman this week to discuss industry issues."

- Paul Bramhill, chief executive, GreenSpace

"The majority of local authorities spend less than one per cent on parks, but the chances are there will be a much stronger need for strategic cuts with diminished funding, so we expect parks to be hit very hard.

"Some authorities that value parks will fight reductions, so you may not see changes on the ground - the impact will be felt in management and staff. Others will be more significantly hit, with parks sections merged into other departments and reductions in service. You can't take 40 per cent out without noticing. The chances are cuts will be made unevenly across the portfolio."


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