The Professional Publishers Association (PPA) has released a guide to advise its members on how to prepare their businesses for a potential no-deal exit of the UK from the EU.
In the introduction to the publication, PPA managing director Owen Meredith stated “there are a number of things publishers, and their suppliers can do to prepare for a no-deal scenario” while they await clarity on the UK’s legal position post-Brexit.
He noted that many PPA members have already invested in preparing for Brexit, with activities such as setting up EU subsidiaries, increasing paper stocks, holding higher cash reserves, and relocating print and production to the UK.
However, he added a recent PPA member survey earlier in the year indicated that many others were awaiting political clarity before deciding how to act.
The guide also looks in depth at the five most significant areas of potential change for publishers; immigration, intellectual property, data, employment and company law.
MPs will vote in Commons tomorrow (19 October) on the Brexit deal that Prime Minister Boris Johnson struck yesterday with the EU.
The DUP and every opposition party is planning to vote against the deal, but Johnson is confident of gaining the majority he needs in order to action Brexit by the 31 October deadline.
However, a no-deal Brexit remains a possibility as Johnson is adamant the UK will leave the EU on 31 October, whatever happens tomorrow.
Meredith told Printweek: “Even if MPs do back the deal tomorrow, the key is that that doesn't actually rule out entirely the possiblity of a no-deal exit on 31 October. Until all the withdrawal legislation is passed, people should still be aware that a no-deal departure on 31 October is still the legal default until everything else is in place for a new withdrawal act.
"So people should still make a judgement call about what steps are worth taking now and what they might want to think about but not take any action on until a week or so's time. It's all very much still to play for.”
He added: "Speaking to printers and PPA associate members who are industry suppliers, I think most of them have taken steps to ensure that they are carrying more stock than they normally would to see them through an extra three or four weeks in the event that there were significant delays at ports etc. That applies across paper, ink and plates.
"Depending on the size of people's businesses, they've reacted differently. One of the greatest concerns and immediate issues for publishers is around staffing and talent, particularly if you've got EU nationals, as most of our members do. They've been making sure that those EU nationals feel comfortable, happy and reassued about their own status in the UK and in the workforce after 31 October, whichever way it goes.
"So that's where people have focused their immediate attention, but then other issues around longer term protection of copyright and trademarks will need to be considered in due course.”