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.
The Economic Newsletter for the European Pringting Industry has been rebranded with Intergraf's new design and colours. It continues to feature short term statistics on turnover, graphic paper consumption and prices. It also includes pulp and recovered paper prices and, in this edition, energy prices.
A healthy seasonal boost ensured 2018 finished stronger than it started, at least as far as the volume of output and orders are concerned - however, expectations are more pragmatic for Q1.