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Industry

Trade bodies call on government for support

Trade bodies have rallied together to call on the government to support the print industry amidst the coronavirus pandemic.

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The IPIA and BAPC are working to protect print industry businesses impacted by coronavirus

The British Printing Industries Federation (BPIF) has “urgently called” for further support for the printing industry.

With the majority of the industry made up of small to medium sized businesses, the Federation has reported “unprecedented pressures” on its members.

In its plea, the BPIF has asked the government to extend business rates relief beyond the retail, leisure and hospitality sectors; widen the key worker category to include skilled workers in key supply chains in print and packaging; and to defer VAT, PAYE [Pay As You Earn] and NIC [National Insurance Contribution] payments to “reduce and avoid” the impact of layoffs.

Charles Jarrold, chief executive officer of BPIF describes the impact of Covid-19 as equivalent to a natural disaster. He says: “Targeted and intense government support to those businesses and individuals in need will minimise the biggest harms and enable our industry and the economy, to recover more quickly once we are through the worst.

Targeted and intense government support to those businesses and individuals in need will minimise the biggest harms and enable our industry and the economy, to recover more quickly once we are through the worst

“This needs urgent and immediate action; we know the government are listening carefully to the UK industry and we hope the announcements later today will reflect our feedback.”

Over the last two weeks, the Independent Print Industries Association (IPIA) and the British Association for Print and Communication (BPAC) have been in communication with The Department for Business, Energy, and Industrial Strategy (BEIS).

The bodies have been acting as a voice for the print industry and have provided the BEIS Intelligence Gathering Unit with information on what businesses need to remain afloat and retain their staff during the current crisis.

Charles Jarrold, chief executive officer of BPIF

In a statement to BEIS, the bodies say: “Our members and the wider industry are directly impacted by the seismic shock to the economy and specifically to the leisure, events, travel and entertainment industry – as a huge number rely on the printing of marketing and communications material, which has quite literally stopped dead in the last week.”

One example of this direct impact is an IPIA member which deals specifically with the leisure, retail and marketing industry as its major clients. “This member has lost 75% of its total business income in just the last week alone,” explain the bodies, which estimate the loss to total approximately £250,000 per month.

The statement highlights that the current “proffered grants will not begin to fill this hole and allow it to continue to pay wages”.

...we are simply facing almost complete devastation as a sector if our businesses cannot retain and pay staff and provided with special measures

According to the IPIA and BAPC, an initial survey by their twin associations estimates that this is the same for around 6,000 of the 8,400 businesses in the industry. They describe the remainder as “only capable of hanging on for a maximum of two to three months to pay wages, and less than 10% in a situation to take out a government backed loan to remain solvent”.

The statement concludes: “There is now simply a near complete cessation in need, and when the crisis ends it will at best resume simply at normal pre-crisis levels. This means there will be no way for the majority of industry to withstand servicing extra debt taken on to remain solvent at this time.

“Given the […] contribution to GDPR our industry makes and its national employment levels, we are simply facing almost complete devastation as a sector if our businesses cannot retain and pay staff and provided with special measures.”

Statements by impacted businesses in the print industry will be relayed to government policy makers

The BEIS has assured the IPIA and BAPC that this information will be represented to government policy makers as they develop financial schemes to support the UK’s industrial manufacturing sector.

BEIS has also asked the bodies to supply it with information from the print sector on the immediate impact coronavirus is having and what specific support is needed.

To assist in this, the IPIA is asking industry members to complete a survey which will be relayed to BEIS. You can do this here: bit.ly/printimpact.



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