IPIA members hit by new ‘rule of six’

Jo Francis
Friday, September 11, 2020

The IPIA has made urgent contact with BEIS to seek additional support for SME printers hit by the government’s new ‘rule of six’.

Perring: "There are lots of very worried printers out there"
Perring: "There are lots of very worried printers out there"

IPIA general manager Brendan Perring told Printweek that the association had received an influx of messages from print shops that had seen work cancelled because of the new restrictions.

On Wednesday (9 September) Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced new restrictions on social gatherings in an attempt to suppress the spread of the Covid-19 virus and keep the number of cases down.

The restrictions come into effect on Monday.

Perring said the IPIA had experienced a flurry of calls and requests for help since the announcement, mainly from the BAPC membership of high street printers that typically handle a lot of walk-in and last-minute trade.

The BAPC merged with the IPIA in June, and Perring is chairman of that part of the organisation.

“Some of our members have seen a big fall in daily and future work after the rule of six was announced. After the initial drop-off in work [due to lockdown], firms had been seeing something of a bounceback. But now, after the rule of six, some are seeing business drop to 80% of what it had been,” he said.

Jobs such as printed flyers and t-shirts for local membership clubs, and stag and hen parties have been cancelled.

Perring said the IPIA had quickly made contact with the department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) to provide evidence about the adverse effect of the new rules on its members.

“They have identified similar issues with other industries with B2C relationships. BEIS said they will be calling a meeting with the Treasury next week to discuss what support can be made available.”

Perring said that while there had been no promises as yet, he hoped there would be some form of extension of the Job Retention Scheme for sectors that had specifically been hurt by the rule of six, along with something akin to a disaster relief grant.

“There are lots of very worried printers out there. Emotionally, people are hurting and they want to know that something is being done to address their concerns. My message is ‘keep your heads up’ because it is being looked at,” Perring added.

“BEIS knows that it makes more sense to support SME businesses to retain staff and keep going, as it will cost a lot more if they go out of business.”

The IPIA will launch a new survey on the issue next week.

It is also acting as a representative body for print firms wishing to engage with the government’s new Kickstart Scheme aimed at boosting youth employment.



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