Printing industry reacts to Brexit vote

By Jo Francis, Friday 24 June 2016

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Printing industry leaders have begun reacting to the news that Britain has voted to leave the European Union.

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Referendum result: industry fears over uncertainty

BPIF chief executive Charles Jarrold told PrintWeek: “A democratic decision has been made and now we have to address that. What we now enter into is a period of economic and political uncertainty, and business and economies don’t like that.

“The priority is for government to remove that uncertainty and stabilise the situation. We will work with other trade associations and government on what comes next, and to ensure the needs of our members, made up of a great cross-section of businesses, are addressed in creating these new arrangements.”

In a recent BPIF poll, 49% of the federation’s members wanted to stay in the EU, 27% said they would vote out, and 24% were undecided.

Miles Linney, managing director of family-owned Linney Group, said: “As a company we were neutral – we viewed it like a General Election. It's everyone's choice. I admit that at 4.47 this morning, when I crept downstairs and switched the TV on, I had a feeling of ‘what have we done!’ Three hours later I'm fine with the outcome and proud with the democratic process. At Linneys we don't like to be told what to do and what's best for us. We move on and look forward to the opportunities.”

Just after the result was announced, Unite assistant general secretary Tony Burke tweeted: “The chaos has begun! The UK is a poorer, uglier place this morning.”

Walstead Investments chairman Mark Scanlon, who has just completed the firm’s second large acquisition on the continent with the purchase of Austria-headquartered Leykam Let’s Print, said he was “disappointed”.

“I am disappointed, and concerned. Too many votes [were cast] based on emotion rather than the harsh economic reality which we're going to be faced with. I believe the UK will eventually regret this decision,” Scanlon said.

Peter Gunning, chief executive of web-to-print PLC Grafenia, also highlighted the uncertainty issue. "If there's one thing markets hate, it's uncertainty. Now we face two years of uncertainty while the country figures out how to disentangle itself from the EU. Will businesses be inclined to delay spending decisions until they know more? I hope not. But looks like we are all in for a bumpy ride."

Tony Bates, the managing director of Nottingham-based SME Fast Graphics, said: “It seems a great divide between London and the rest of the UK has been revealed, time for politicians to listen to the electorate. We also need to engage the younger voter.

“Interesting times for business, possibly short-term pain for longer-term gain. It will be interesting to see what happens to the rest of the EU in the wake of our decision.”

Leeds print and marketing services firm Resource also tweeted its concern that the vote to leave could cause paper prices to rise. 

Jarrold added that he hoped the seismic events would ultimately result in a more balanced economy. "We should use the situation to create a much more balanced economy between services and manufacturing," he said.

What do you think of the momentous decision to leave the EU? Have your say below. 

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