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Print reacts to 'business' Budget

Print reacts to 'business' Budget
22/03/2012

The print industry has been reacting to yesterday’s Budget, which chancellor George Osborne said ‘unashamedly backs business’.

Bob Usher, managing director, Apex Digital Graphics

I’m lukewarm overall, there’s some good things in there but I know the difficulty the economy’s in.

There are some elements in this which are going to help; the cut in corporation tax will certainly help the larger organisations.

I think what needs to be done is for a consultation to be put together to look at simplifying tax for smaller businesses.

Another thing that continues to hurt printers is the planned rise in fuel duty because everything a printer does is brought by road and everything a printer delivers is brought by road.

That just continues to put up costs, our delivery people have consistently put up costs over the last year. Petrol went through the roof.

I don’t think it’s a good idea to kick businesses when they’re down and it is the incredible percentages of duty that is on petrol which makes it so expensive.

Everyone talks about cutting red tape but collection of taxes from small businesses has to be so complicated and detailed that it is very difficult to streamline it. If you did I you would find you were upsetting some people unfairly.

Your average printer in the UK has under 20 staff with the proprietor at the coal face. The burden of extra paperwork in an area that they may not be that confident in puts significant extra costs on their business because they’ve got to employ someone to do it for them. It’s got more complicated over the years and it’s difficult to reverse that.

Gerry Mulvaney, former managing director, graphics and production division, Danwood Group

I don’t think he’s done any damage to business—the reduction in corporation tax is fine.

My own view is that the growth in the economy is going to have to come from smaller businesses. Its not necessarily going to come from larger business—our industry is made up with lots of small businesses with one or two exceptions. For them to grow, they need to have confidence.

Confidence is about investing in new machinery, particularly with Drupa coming up and it’s also about hiring new people to grow their business.

It’s not so much about being able to borrow money, it’s less of that now, it’s about having the confidence in the future and believing that any investment they have in the future is going make a return.

I see, from talking to customers and suppliers over recent months, signs of confidence returning. The printing industry is always a good barometer because ahead of a recession people stop spending money on marketing and promotional materials.

You see a recession coming much sooner in print and now, when the government’s saying there’s poor growth in the economy as a whole, we’ve got people spending money and investing. There’s a little bit of confidence returning. We see the improvement and the pick up first and I think that’s what we’re seeing at the minute.

The chancellor’s not got much room for manoeuvre, he’s not done anything to damage business and he’s given it a little bit of encouragement. I think that will help people going into Drupa.

Keith D’Arcy Ryan, head of sales and business development, Copy Color

The one percent cut in corporation tax is obviously going to be good. Of course it depends on what size business you’re are talking about. But of course you only pay it on profit, so if you’re already struggling it’s not going to make any kind of a difference.

For some of the staff the raise in the income tax threshold will definitely help them, but again it doesn’t help us as a business.

Overall, personally I think it’s a good business in lots of ways. Having said that is there really anything in there for businesses—it’s a bit of a mixed bag.

If they deliver on cutting red tape, because they keep talking about it, things will move a lot quicker.

I’m glad to see fuel hasn’t gone up but would have loved it to have come down. That’s a direct cost to us as a business that we have no control over. We offer free collections and deliveries to our clients in the local area so as soon as we get hit by that its straight on our bottom lines and we can’t get it back at the same rate.

Sidney Bobb, chairman, BAPC

I can’t really see anything in real terms of ‘backing business’. Most print businesses are microbusinesses, and I can’t see anything that can help a microbusiness actually create more business, which is what is needed.

I can’t see what has actually been done to boost growth. I’m not saying I have the answer, as it is much easier to criticise and I don’t know if I would have done anything different, except remove VAT from all printed products. There is nothing that strikes me, in some respects it is almost a non-budget as there is nothing that encourages growth at the coal face. And I think that’s the main point, we’re not going to wake up richer tomorrow.

Red tape, everything to do with wages and the tax system has to be simplified. The sooner they bring together national insurance and income tax then the better. Why should we have to deal with so many different departments and forms?

Fuel won’t have an advantageous effect but may have a less detrimental effect, but a print business has to deliver their products so will cost them money whatever happens, and delivery costs have been as high as they have ever been.

People are used to delivery prices but it is costly, it does often mean print businesses have to observe the delivery costs. Not many print business review their costs often enough and increase accordingly, and they can’t increase because of the tough economic climate and competition.

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