The Graphics and Print Media Alliance (GPMA) has received a formal response from the Government after calling for a means-tested ‘disaster relief’ fund to support printers facing closure.

The official response acknowledged that the UK print industry remains a key concern for the Government and that the data and proposals provided to it by the GPMA and its members was being factored into its policy response to the pandemic.

Responding to the response, IPIA Chairman Graeme Smith, BPIF CEO Charles Jarrold, Picon CEO Bettine Pellant and BAPC Chairman Brendan Perring, issued a joint statement. 

‘The response from Government is heartening to say the least,’ the statement read. ‘They clearly recognise the specific challenges the UK print industry faces, have asserted that they will be borne in mind as policy is now developed, and have requested that we continue to work closely with them.

‘What we now need is a continuation of concerted effort from across our industry, which has so far seen hundreds of business owners write directly to their MPs and to the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) to make them aware of their individual circumstances and the help that would be required to support them moving forward. We will continue our collective efforts to work with the Government in securing a sustainable solution.’

Key extracts from the governments letter read:

‘Thank you for your letter of 24 September, to the Rt Hon Alok Sharma MP, and the Rt Hon Rishi Sunak MP, about the impact that the restrictions currently in place across the UK are having on the graphics and print media sector.

‘The Government fully recognises the importance of the graphics and print media sector to the UK economy, and to the consumers who rely on printed materials for information and communication.

‘BEIS is grateful to the sector for your continued engagement with officials throughout this crisis, which we will continue going forwards.

‘As you are aware, recent events in the UK and worldwide have demonstrated that Coronavirus continues to pose a very real threat to people’s health and livelihoods.

‘The Government is therefore focused on measures to combat the virus in the places where it is most prevalent, whilst also doing everything possible to keep our economy moving forwards with people working in a COVID-19 Secure way.

‘We would like to further assure you that your proposal that a means-tested ‘disaster relief’ style grant should be made available to the printing industry has been noted, and will be borne in mind as the policy response to the pandemic evolves.’