The Horticultural Sector Committee’s inquiry into the sector kicks off on 9 March

The House of Lords Horticultural Sector Committee will begin taking evidence from Defra civil servants for its new inquiry on Thursday 9 March. 

The committee will hear from Gill Laishley, deputy director of farming and primary processing; Tim Mordan, deputy director, Agri-Food Chain Directorate; and Tessa Jones, director, Agri-Food Chain Directorate.

The meeting at 10.30am will be held in Committee Room 4 of the House of Lords, and will also be streamed live on Parliament TV.

Questions the committee is likely to ask include:

  • To what extent does the government value the social, economic and environmental benefits the horticultural sector - including ornamentals - provides?
  • What are the most significant risks facing the horticultural sector today?
  • Are sufficient resources available to support businesses with current challenges such as rising input costs?
  • Is adequate government support and funding available for horticultural businesses to research, develop and utilise technological innovations?
  • Given skills and labour shortages in the sector, what is the government doing to support recruitment and retention in horticultural businesses?
  • How is the government supporting horticultural businesses to achieve net-zero targets?

The cross-party Horticultural Sector Committee is considering the challenges, opportunities and risks faced by the horticultural sector, including the impact of rising input costs and labour and skills shortages, and how innovative technologies might address these issues and other pressing challenges such as the impact of climate change on productivity and food supply.

In addition, it will explore how policy can support the sector in meeting the government’s ambitions for levelling up and post-Brexit trade policy. It will publish its report by the end of this year.