THEY say love makes the world go round.

But as we celebrate the last Valentine’s Day before Brexit, there are grounds for optimism in the UK floral industry about its long-term business future.  Will the UK market still be smelling of roses after the planned March 29 date for leaving the EU?

Or will Cupid’s dart puncture the growth of a green-fingered industry which, for the past few years, has very much been on the up in this country?

It’s a sad fact that the number of independent High Street florists has dwindled, as with many sectors, with insolvency and administration often being the only option for those facing financial pressures.  Their role, however, has been taken over by large supermarkets chains and online shops to satisfy our floral passion.  And whether you live in Leeds or Leyburn, Harrogate or Halifax, Bradford or Barnsley, Darlington or Doncaster, figures show that romance is not dead.

Analysts predict that over than £1 billion will be spent on loved ones this Valentine’s Day – on flowers, gifts, candlelit meals, and cards.  Historically, the Netherlands was the main source of flowers, with nine in every ten bouquets imported from their auction houses   That trend has reversed in recent years as the number of UK growers – including here in Yorkshire and the North East – have seen green shoots rise again in their profit forecasts.

It’s expected that this momentum among UK growers will continue to bloom as a result of mounting Brexit uncertainty over future imports.   And it’s certainly a business sector with potential for growth.  According to latest figures from trade body, the Flowers and Plants Association, the UK fresh cut flower and indoor plant market is worth £2.2 billion at retail level.   To put this in context, the UK music industry is valued around £2 billion.  And this represents an average spend per person per year of £36 (£28 on flowers and £8 on plants) – nearly five times higher than 1984 levels.

The trick now for the UK flowers and plants market is to build on this, and increase our average spend to European levels – around £100 a year.  Having faced insolvency pressures for too long, there is no doubt that there is now a window of opportunity.   As little as five years ago, business research showed that most people in the UK only bought flowers for special occasions like weddings and anniversaries – and of course Valentine’s Day.  Now there is a growing culture change which has seen us buying fresh flowers and plants for our homes, workplaces and public places.

If this shift to all-year-round buying can be maintained, then hopefully our floral industry can look forward to a more rosy future.

Mary Taylor
Director

Mary began working in insolvency for a national accountancy practice in Glasgow thirty years ago and worked in most divisions of the insolvency department.

She then moved to a smaller firm so she could advance her knowledge on a more hands on basis. She moved back to Leeds in 1987 and commenced working with a small firm of accountants and subsequently made partner.

She left in 1999 to set up her own practice, McCann Taylor.
McCann Taylor became involved with the consumer market both in England and Scotland.

Mary sold McCann Taylor in March 2007 and formed Walsh Taylor to concentrate on helping businesses experiencing financial difficulties.

Meg Heath
Director

Meg has a background in supporting SMEs, including the raising of finance and advising on organisational change. She is a non-executive director of companies in the private and third sector, including Walsh Taylor.

Previously she was Deputy Fund Director of one of the largest CDFIs in the UK, and has experience of the social enterprise, charity and private sectors. Her experience of assisting companies to survive and thrive has been gained across a broad range of sectors and in companies of all sizes.

In addition to her work at Walsh Taylor she works for other private companies, including non-executive and trustee positions.

Emma Mifsud
Insolvency Practitioner

After graduating from Leeds University in 2005 with a BA Hons degree in Criminology, Emma worked for a regional law firm in both the property department and insolvency and banking department. Whilst doing so Emma gained a Graduate Diploma in Law at BPP University.

Emma then joined a national accountancy firm in 2009 gaining experience in personal insolvency before moving to a Leeds based firm. At this firm Emma specialised in bankruptcies, IVA’s and negotiating informal agreements with creditors. In 2013 Emma gained her CPI qualification.

Since joining the firm in December 2013, Emma has taken on a portfolio of personal and corporate insolvency cases to extend her knowledge and expertise in all areas of insolvency.

In December 2017 Emma become a licensed appointment taker under the Insolvency Practitioners Association, she is JIEB qualified.

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