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Government mulls GPMA's Covid-19 support proposal

The Graphics and Print Media Alliance (GPMA) has received what it describes as a “confidence building” response from the government over its plea for further support for the print industry during the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) crisis.

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The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy says it will consider the GPMA’s proposal

The organisation put forward a proposal for a new means-tested ‘disaster relief’ fund, which would be used to support thousands of print businesses that it says face closure before the end of the year.

All 15 GPMA members, including the IPIA, BPIF, Picon and the BAPC, backed the call, with the organisation saying the print and graphics sector had not been given any targeted support during the pandemic.

Responding to the proposal, the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) says it recognises the importance of the graphics and print media sector to the UK economy, and would take into account the proposal.

“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 BEIS says.

“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.

The response from the government is heartening to say the least

“We would like to further assure you that your proposal that a mean-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.”

The GPMA’s commercial print representatives of IPIA chairman Graeme Smith, BPIF chief executive Charles Jarrold, PICON chief executive Bettine Pellant and BAPC chairman Brendan Perring welcomed the response.

In a joint statement, the quartet say: “The response from the government is heartening to say the least. 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 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.”

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