BPIF chief executive Charles Jarrold has called on the government to invest more capital in the print industry in the wake of Brexit.
Speaking at the BPIF AGM in London yesterday, Jarrold appealed for calm within the industry, and urged members to be patient until the economy becomes more stable.
Jarrold said: “We need to be able to communicate any impact on the economy to our fellow trade associations and government and there is obviously a great deal of concern about uncertainty leading through to a slowdown in consumer spending and investment. If this does indeed prove to be the case, the government will need to react.
“We would like to see support for investment in both capital equipment and training. These are key elements to improving productivity. Any changes in free movement of labour would also need to be very carefully considered indeed.”
Jarrold said he met with the BPIF’s government and industry committee last week, chaired by Nigel Lyon, to discuss how it could work with other affiliated trade associations and the CBI, in order to best influence government policy.
He also urged his members to complete the BPIF’s online outlook survey, which closes on 15 July. Another more detailed survey will go live once a new Prime Minister has been appointed. A survey of members before the referendum found significant support for Remain, which Jarrold said did not come as a surprise.
He added: “We believe the impact of Brexit can be looked at in three stages, in the short-term building up to Article 50 and the treaty being triggered, in the medium-term building up to negotiations over the next two years, and in the longer-term what happens after departure.
“Whatever anyone’s individual views, the role of the BPIF is to support its members and to ensure the needs of the sector are recognised and addressed."
At yesterday's AGM, Jarrold said that BPIF membership had risen for the third consecutive year, from 1252 to 1280, and is forecast to continue to grow into 2017.
"Overall we are a membership organisation and it seems to me that the key barometer of relevance is our ability to attract and retain members. After all, if we are delivering relevant services and supporting you in the industry, we can spread the word and more businesses can join and help the sector,” he said.
He was also in praise of the BPIF’s training schemes, a hot topic of discussion at last year’s AGM, after funding for its two-year NVQ Level 5 scheme came to an end.
Jarrold said: “Training has consistently been identified as a concern but I am convinced that apprenticeship training delivered by a membership organisation such as the BPIF is a good model. After all, the government wants high-quality employer-focused apprenticeships and that is what we have developed."
In its end-of-year- financial report total income at the federation increased by 0.3%, from £4.881m to £4.897m.
BPIF finance director Peter Allen said: “A reduction in training following the end of the Level 5 programme was actually made up by an increase in membership revenue and revenue from events.”
The adoption of the new financial reporting standard FRS 102 since the start of the year led to a restatement of 2015’s balance sheet. Allen said it had not resulted in a significant change, with the main adjustment being in holiday pay accrual and changing methods in calculating pension expenses.
The pension deficit fell slightly by 1.2%, from £2.3m to £2.2m. An agreement by the trustees last year put in place a repayment system of £161,000 up until 2033.
At a reception hosted at the House of Commons by Stephen Metcalfe MP, chair of the All Party Parliamentary Print Group (APPPG), Jarrold awarded Lyon with an award for Outstanding Contribution to the UK Printing Industry.
There were also awards for Melanie Fox, who scooped the Kathy Woodward Award for Learning, and Katie Craven, who won the Victor Watson Trophy, awarded to a young person of high achievement.
A number of other MPs were also present at the reception, including Dr Rupa Huq, Sir Alan Haselhurst and Jim Fitzpatrick.
The day began with a negotiation conference, hosted by BPIF higher and degree apprenticeship manager Dominic Wing and former police negotiator Graham Curtis.
Wing also launched the new BPIF negotiation workshop series, the first of which will take place in London on 3 November.