General election 2019 offers print industry boost


Boris Johnson’s call for a general election will likely provide the print industry with a short-term boost.

MPs last night backed the Prime Minister's call by a margin of 438 to 20, after months of Brexit deadlock.

The election is expected to take place on 12 December, provided the House of Lords passes Johnson’s legislation as expected. Parliament will dissolve next Wednesday (6 November) for a five-week campaign leading up to polling day.

Johnson said it was time for the UK to “come together to get Brexit done” and that “a new and revitalised” parliament was needed to lead Britain out of the EU. He also readmitted 10 of the 21 Conservative MPs he expelled from the party for rebelling against his Brexit plan.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said: “This election is a once-in-a-generation chance to transform our country and take on the vested interests holding people back.”

Liberal Democrat leader Jo Swinson, meanwhile, called the situation “our best chance to elect a government to stop Brexit”.

BPIF chief executive Charles Jarrold does not believe the election is a good idea but said "the other options to resolve the current impasse are as bad or worse".

“I have no idea what will happen in terms of outcome, it’s perhaps the most unpredictable general election of recent times.”

He added: “We need to get beyond the current political uncertainties, although whether the election will achieve this remains to be seen. In any event, we can expect to be debating the nature of our commercial relationship with the EU for a long time to come.

“We all have to continue to plan on the basis that Brexit will happen sooner or later, and that we will all then get to work on redrawing our relationship with the EU, probably within a free trade agreement, which will take a fair while to negotiate.”

The election should, however, prompt a short-term boost for printers as the demand for campaign materials grows, particularly given the short, five-week campaign period.

If the last election is anything to go by, printers can expect an increase in demand for printed collateral, Correx boards, banners and other signage.

Central Mailing Services sales and marketing director Richard Morrow told Printweek: “The general election will always bring print business to the industry. We’re already dealing with a number of enquiries, we’ve already got work in the factory. There are already full election campaigns so we’re well underway with work for that.

“It’s a good boost for the business. It’s definitely welcome.”

Large-format printer Wallace Print, which has targeted election campaigns for business in the past, saw similar opportunity in the election call. Sales manager Chris Payne said: “We’re seeing an immediate influx of enquiries; we already had been, even with [the election] in the offing.

“With regards to printed short-term election materials, we’ve definitely seen an increase and it’s an area that we’ve targeted in the past so we’ve immediately had some repeat business.”

However, others in the industry acknowledged the uncertainty caused by the election and expressed hopes it might not go ahead.

Delta Group chief executive Jason Hammond commented: “The overall disruption and uncertainty within the government has naturally led to a drop in consumer confidence within the key sectors Delta operates in, namely retail, consumer brands and the film and entertainment space.

“A swift solution, with a deal agreed before the general election, would be best in order to inject some much-needed confidence back into the high street in the run up to Christmas.”

Adam Carnell, managing director of Bluetree Group, which owns the Route 1 Print and Instantprint online print brands, summarised a widespread feeling in the industry that the inevitable spike in election print “shows how important print is as a method of communication and therefore this will give a good short term boost to the industry”.

“Hopefully [the election] will mean a clear outcome to the Brexit stalemate, one that I think every business, regardless of opinion, desires. I just wish there was referendum first – for the extra print,” he added.

Printweek poll asking 'If there is a general election soon, which way would you vote?' was held across three days in the first week of September and attracted more than 300 votes.

More than a third (39%) said they would vote Conservative, with 20% citing The Brexit Party, 18% Liberal Democrats, 12% said they would vote Labour and all the other parties collectively garnered 11%.

We're reprising the poll this week, so have your say now.

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