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The looming gloom of Brexit and its potential impact on the horticulture industry   

 

The ubiquitous concern and anxiety about Brexit was its uncertainty – what does it mean? What changes will it bring? Will I be able to stay in the country? How should we prepare our businesses for the ‘big change’? This unpredictability has often been the main cause of concern, especially as the whole political campaign surrounding Brexit was borderline propagandistic due to misinformation spread by certain politicians. Now that we have finally left the EU – if you wanted to or not – (which came with a charming £200 billion price-tag) there is bound to be some kind of economic impact.

But how will this impact the horticulture industry?

Let’s take the Royal Borough of Barnet [1] as a micro-example of the potential impacts of Brexit on a local scale. As the most populated borough of London, the majority of Barnet’s residents rely on the retail industry, as well as professional sectors like the NHS. However, because the cost of Brexit was so high, we are likely to see considerable inflation in living prices, but without the rise in wage to complement it. This means less disposable income, which in turn means that families won’t be able to afford a cleaner, to eat out, or a gardener – let alone a complete landscape redesign.

Additionally, because of the trade being less fluid and restrained by the imposition of tariffs on import, prices of materials and tools will inevitably rise. However, it is unlikely that there will be possibility for this inflation to be reflected in the price of projects as there won’t be enough new clients with expendable income, but also out of fear of losing long-term customers. So it will be a lose-lose situation.

Not only this, Brexit is expected to cause a labour shortage, as employers will have more difficulty in finding applicants as migration will be restricted. This will consequently cause strain on businesses as they will be less efficient due to lack of work force, so the jobs that are available will take longer to complete.

However, when I spoke to West Hill Gardens in the summer, and asked them how they were preparing for the impact of Brexit, they believed that the whole uncertainty of what is to come next will mean more people will stay put in their homes out of fear of losing money due to the instability of the housing market. Homeowners will instead choose to invest in their properties to ensure they have a safety net to fall back on if needs be.

 

How do you think Brexit will impact the horticulture industry? Will it cause a boom in business or will it impose an incoming struggle? Or maybe it isn’t so black and white?

 

West Hill Gardens interview: https://landscapejuicenetwork.com/profiles/blogs/the-ljn-big-interview-with-westhill-garden-landscaping-ltd

 

[1] Understanding Brexit: Impacts at a local level, The London Borough of Barnet case study, Conflict and Civil Society Research Unit, (London School of Economics and Political Science: September 2018)

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