The Lords horticultural inquiry is hearing evidence around labour supply

The House of Lords inquiry into the horticulture industry is continuing with a focus on labour.

On 23 March the Horticultural Sector Committee was set to take oral evidence from two panels of witnesses. The first featured Janet Swadling, CEO of the Institute for Agriculture and Horticulture, and G’s chair John Shropshire, who is also chair of the Independent Review into Labour Shortages in the Food Supply Chain.

Following that, the committee was set to hear from Alex Payne, CEO at Landex, and Tim Hughes, head of learning and participation at Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.

Topics the committee expected to cover in the two sessions included:

  • Labour issues impacting the horticultural sector today
  • Skills challenges in the horticultural labour force
  • The success of the seasonal workers scheme in alleviating labour shortages
  • Effectiveness of the education system in preparing young people with the skills that the horticultural sector needs
  • Attractiveness of the horticultural sector to jobseekers
  • Skills required to be successful in horticultural careers today and in the future
  • Careers advice, information and guidance provided to young people today.

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 is exploring 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.