The BPIF used its annual print reception at the House of Lords to release its new UK Printing Facts & Figures document, detailing the structure of the industry by region and product, as well as covering its economic importance and productivity, and making three special industry awards.

The event brought together business leaders and BPIF members to connect, share their thoughts and network with key members of parliament and Lords. Attendees heard from host Lord Teverson, Louisa Bull from Unite the Union, and Charles Jarrold, CEO of the BPIF. Lord Teverson said it was ‘really great to have the real world come into the Westminster village’ and spoke of how important the print sector is to the British economy, exports, employment and innovation, while applauding the BPIF’s recent focus on training and apprenticeships.

Ms Bull noted, ‘A lot has happened since we last met but in some ways nothing has really changed. The challenges we spoke about last year, around the cost of living crisis have not lessened; energy, food, mortgages, housing costs continue to rise for everyone.’ She went on to criticise the government’s industrial strategy, pointing out that robotics and automation are not new to the UK print industry, having arrived in the 1980s, and that the biggest ‘job killers’ are AI-based systems that rely on ‘previously human functionality’ to run automated systems. ‘We need to be vigilant to ensure that they are properly understood, regulated and provide for human control,’ she added.

Mr Jarrold confirmed that Britiish print is a £13.7 billion industry, with over 7000 companies and  the fifth-largest print sector in the world, and second in Europe. He added, ‘The links between political and business decision makers are always important, but, perhaps now more than ever in a world with challenges, and an economy finely balanced. I’m delighted at the effort that our team, and all the sector associations, put in to strengthen those links.’

The afternoon also included presentations of awards within the industry: Richard Walker of Harlow Printing was presented with the Award for Outstanding Contribution to the Printing Industry, while the Kathy Woodward award, sponsored by Webmart, was presented to Greg Fitzgerald from Bell & Bain. The Victor Watson Trophy, sponsored by The Printing Charity, was presented to Ryan O’Leary from Adare SEC..