Ipswich: 90 jobs to be created at Thompson & Morgan following closure of Guernsey operation
16:10 12 February 2013
SEEDS and plants company Thompson & Morgan is creating more than 200 jobs in Ipswich following a reorganisation.
Around 90 of the jobs result from the closure and relocation of the company’s young plants business in Guernsey as a result of rising costs and changes in taxation laws.
And this follows the recent launch by the company of a new 78-seat call centre in Ipswich, for which 118 full- and part-time workers have been recruited to take over work which was previously outsourced.
The company’s decision to pull out of Guernsey, from where it has operated for about 15 years, follows a Government move to end Low Value Consignment Relief, under which small orders could be despatched to the UK from the Channel Islands free of VAT.
Paul Hansord, managing director of Thompson & Morgan, said the Guernsey operation, which employed 110 people including season staff, had become “unviable” due to the change in the tax regime, combined with an increase in the cost of sending multiple parcels.
“Previously there were many cost advantages from having an operation in Guernsey and we used to grow a lot of plants there,” he said.
“However, costs such as transport and labour have been going up and the change in tax legislation made the business unviable.”
Instead of despatching items separately, the new Ipswich operation would collate orders so that they could be sent in a single parcel, said Mr Hansord.
Besides being more cost-effective, the new system would also mean plants spending less time in transit and therefore arriving with the customer in better condition.
The first orders handled by new operation had just been despatched and the full complement of 90 staff would be in place by April, he added.
Thompson & Morgan, which is based in Poplar Lane, Ipswich, is one of the UK’s largest mail order seed and plant companies. It was established in 1855 by botanist William Thompson, who later went into partnership with businessman John Morgan, and today the company employs about 350 people.