The HDC was established by the Horticultural Development Council Order 1986 to commission research and development on behalf of the horticulture industry in Great Britain (except for apples and pears). It is financed by a statutory levy on growers. The HDC merged with the Apple and Pear Research Council on 1 April 2003 to form a single and unified development council for all of the horticulture industry. At the same time, its remit was expanded to enable it to commission market research in addition to scientific research, and it was also empowered to undertake a role in respect of the generic promotion of horticultural produce.
As with all Development Councils established under the Industrial Organisation and Development Act 1947, the HDC was subject to an initial review after three years, followed by quinquennial reviews. The last review, which took place in 1999, consisted of a series of prior options tests, a poll of levy payers, and an economic evaluation carried out by independent consultants. On the basis of the review, Ministers decided that the HDC should continue for a further five years.
This evaluation is to inform the forthcoming statutory review of the HDC, considering whether there is a continuing rationale for the Council in terms of any market failure, establishing the extent to which the Council meets its objectives, assessing whether current arrangements provide value for money and identifying possible areas for improvement.