BEIS provided clarity that print businesses do not need to seek special status in order to trade and any business that wishes to continue production as it has orders coming through can continue but must heed safe working practices with one exception: public-facing print shop counters should be closed.
Print business staff who cannot work from home and need to attend their place of work physically to carry out their job, can do so. This is distinct from print businesses that supply front line services such as the NHS applying for ‘key worker status’ on behalf of their staff with their local Council. This may afford them the right to have their children attend school so they can continue to work. All print business employers are urged to fully implement the staff health and safety protection guidance available via the NHS website.
“We have been in direct and intense dialogue with BEIS since the Covid-19 crisis broke and our place is making sure that we represent the print industry to the very best of our abilities so that the economic damage that is being done to our sector is minimised as much as possible,” says Mike Roberts, president of the IPIA and managing director of PMG Print Management. “Furthermore, we are in a position of privileged responsibility in being able to take our members and the industry’s concerns and challenges directly to Government. It is not a position we take lightly and we will continue to work tirelessly on our sector’s behalf.”
BEIS was clear that the Furlough Scheme’s flexibility will continue to be evolved as it receives feedback from industry about how to maximise its effectiveness. BEIS took under consideration its withdrawal will need to be graduated once the crisis abates.
“The IPIA and BAPC have been invited to meet BEIS regularly and to aid in this effort to shape Government policy we need to hear from you so that we can feed your individual challenges back to them,” says Mike.
“We have had a direct input into influencing the Government’s decision to keep our industry open so that it can continue to do the vital work of connecting our country and supporting the work of our front line services. We are helping to protect hundreds of thousands of jobs and I am immensely proud to be part of that work.”
The IPIA and BAPC await further clarity around the following issues: the print industry’s specific economic exposure to the Covid-19 crisis; print industry inclusion in the supply chain for those sectors under special measures; the Government Furlough Scheme – the requisite for it to be rotational and flexible in order that it be of true support to print industry businesses and the need for its graduated withdrawal; classification of print business staff as key workers when their role involves supplying front line sectors; qualification of the Business Loan Scheme and its benefit in the immediate post-crisis economic recovery phase; and the role of print as a trusted means of mass communication and the vital role it will play in the UK's recovery.