Brexit-supporting Jedburgh florist defiant despite trade being no bed of roses

A Brexit-supporting Jedburgh florist is not wilting from her beliefs despite a price hike partially blamed on the UK leaving Europe.

Sarah Cross, Stems Florist, Jedburgh. (PHOTO: BILL McBURNIE)
Sarah Cross, Stems Florist, Jedburgh. (PHOTO: BILL McBURNIE)

Demand for flowers has soared during lockdown with Scots offering floral gestures of support to family and friends in troubled times.

But the vast majority of the flowers bought in the UK are imported from the European Union (EU).

To avoid tariffs, now that Brexit is done, those flowers need to be grown in the EU or the UK – however, most aren’t.

This means UK florists now face an extra eight per cent tax on the likes of red roses from Ecuador or carnations from Columbia.

Additionally, the UK government began levying tariffs on cut flowers at the beginning of the year, adding costs for suppliers from countries such as Holland – costs passed on to UK florists.

It’s a situation which concerns Sarah Cross, owner of Stems in Jedburgh High Street, although she is convinced the situation will settle down in time.

Sarah said: “ I was speaking to our Dutch supplier and he was saying the growers are charging quite a lot. They are asking for money and then that passes on down the chain.

"We used to sell chrysanthemums at £1.20 a stem and at Valentine’s they were £2.20/£2.40 a stem, so it’s double. We buy from Holland using the wholesalers but they come from places like Kenya, a lot of the greenery from Italy. It comes across to Holland for auction and is sold from there, but they come from all over the world.

"The increases are a result of everything, including Brexit, but I think it’s mainly down to coronavirus because the growers have lost so much money when it all collapsed last year that they are trying to get money back.

"Brexit will have affected it because I know because my wholesaler says you now have to pay an extra £20 per order to bring plants across and in May or June they are putting more restrictions and checks on the flowers as well and that will probably put costs up even more.

"I was for Brexit. I can’t stand that other countries make our laws. I haven’t changed my mind. Things will settle down and we’ll start making more of our own goods and supporting ourselves better.”