In a Spring Statement overshadowed by the Brexit chaos, there was little in the way of good news for print. Uncertainty in our industry is matched by uncertainty in the Treasury, with the Chancellor’s hands tied in terms of what he could offer business.
He did announce the first step the Government will take in response to the consultation on poor payment practices – a problem rife across industries, including print. Companies will be required to report payment practices in their Annual Accounts – a welcome move, but nowhere near enough to tackle the entrenched culture of late payment. We’re still awaiting a full response to the consultation, which is promised shortly – we need to see much tougher measures on the table.
The Chancellor has confirmed that the halving of the employer contribution to the apprenticeship levy (from 10% to 5%) will come into effect from 1 April 2019, as does the ability to transfer up to 25% from levy pot. This is a small but welcome step, and the Government need to continue a dialogue with UK industry to increase the uptake of apprenticeship training.
So, little in the way of offering business much hope amid the chaos. We’ll contribute to the Budget process in the Autumn – we hope a clearer Brexit situation will mean a sharper focus on supporting British business.
Our Economist (and Northern Ireland Manager) was a young bright-eyed and bushy-tailed researcher when he joined the BPIF in 1996, a few years later he ran the London Marathon - he's just done it again and helped raise some funds for a great cause.
The UK is a big exported of printed products - to the value of £3.1 billion in 2018. The UK exports more printed matter than it imports to all but 11 countries in the world. Want to know more? BPIF members can download the Print Trade Data file and explore further.