19 May 1998
Cunningham tiptoes through the tulips at Chelsea

By FWi staff

THE British spend far less on flowers than their European counterparts – a trend the Government would like to amend.

Dr Jack Cunningham, agriculture minister, visited the Chelsea Flower Show yesterday and paid tribute to the horticulture industry for its innovation and creativity.

Dr Cunningham said he would like to see flower sales in the UK blossom. And in a bid to stimulate local demand the Government has decided to supported the EU flower and plant promotion fund, he said.

“The Government spent around £13 million on horticultural research and development last year. Of that, around £300,000 was spent on work relating to bulbs and outdoor flowers; £1.3 million on hardy nursery stock; with the rest going on vegetables, fruits and salads,” he said.

“The promotion scheme began last year when we got our share of the funding. Sales are already rising and I hope that the scheme will help bring sales of flowers and plants in the UK nearer the level of our continental colleagues,” he added.