Why reducing VAT on plants would be a real boost for people, their health, and the environment

Tuesday, April 23rd, 2019

Plants do more than decorate our homes and gardens, they give a sense of calm and improve our environment. Currently, plants that aren’t considered food are subject to full VAT at 20%, but a new campaign is trying to change that. The National Garden Scheme is fully supportive of the move to reduce VAT on plants that are currently classed as ‘ornamental’, be they house plants or garden plants.

National Garden Scheme CEO, George Plumptre, had a busy Easter weekend supporting the campaign and featured on BBC Breakfast, Radio 5 Live and the Radio 4 Today Programme.

Commenting on the subject George said:

“Studies have shown that visiting gardens, gardening and caring for plants all have a positive impact on our health and sense of wellbeing. For many people buying house plants, they may not have access to an outdoor garden space. Evidence confirms that caring for plants, indoors and out, can give people a sense of continuity, responsibility and of hope.

“At the National Garden Scheme we represent one of the biggest plant buying communities in the country – 3,500 people open their gardens for us – and evidence from other European countries (the majority of which do not charge the standard rate) shows that when the VAT on plants goes down, plant buying goes up.”

A reduction in VAT and a subsequent increase in plant buying has a number of key benefits that include:

Increased sales– creating a boost for growers, nurseries and garden centres.

Accessibility– making plants more affordable, encouraging people to buy and take care of plants.

Environmental– growing plants in our gardens attracts insects and other wildlife and creates a much-needed boost for our beleaguered bees and important pollinators. It also improves the environment and our wider-biodiversity. Inside or out, the respiration of plants means that they absorb carbon dioxide and release oxygen, which we all need to breathe.

Health and wellbeing– a number of studies, including the King’s Fund report ‘Gardens and Health’ commissioned by the National Garden Scheme – show that visiting gardens and the act of gardening are good for our health, both physical and mental.

“With plants providing so many benefits, a reduction in the VAT on what is currently classed as a ‘luxury’ would be wonderfully beneficial to people and the environment,” adds George.

For more information please contact vicky@ngs.org.uk

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