The Graphics and Print Media Alliance (GPMA) has today called on new Prime Minister Liz Truss and Business Secretary Jacob Rees-Mogg to cap industrial energy costs, saying that ‘without immediate action, viable businesses are a risk of being overwhelmed by unsustainable price rises and a breakdown of supply chain integrity’.

Arguing that saving businesses from ‘the most vicious economic conditions in a generation’ must be a top priority in cabinet and Whitehall, the Alliance noted that some printing businesses had seen energy price rises of up to 600% in the past 12 months, figures confirmed to Digital Printer in recent days by a variety of commercial printers, including SImon Cooper of Solopress and Gary Peeling of Precision Proco/Where the Trade Buys.

The Alliance points out that energy-intensive industries and SMEs are are particularly susceptible to the impact of energy price rises and that print is an integral component of many industries, as well as an important economic contributor in its own right. Warning that continued cost increases will result in substantial job losses and a decline in business investment, the GMPA said ‘It is time for the Government to acknowledge this reality [and] take radical action to tackle a crisis which represents and existential threat for the UK’s graphics and print media sector’.

Measure that the GPMA proposes to work on with the government include:

a cost-containment mechanism to cap the costs of industrial gas and electricity, combined with urgent efforts to increase UK energy supplies for UK consumption;;

a long-term commitment to return UK industrial energy prices to the median of our EU competitors;

the potential for sector-specific support to ensure that the good work done by the Government during the pandemic is not undone; and

the immediate announcement of a business rates freeze for 2023/24.

In a joint statement, GPMA chair and CEO of the British Printing Industries Federation (BPIF), Charles Jarrold and Printing Industry Confederation (Picon) CEO Bettine Pellant said:

‘The government’s primary concern is of course helping households most at risk. Yet an unavoidable consequence of unchecked cost increases for businesses will be ever-spiralling cost increases for consumers, potentially cancelling out the impact of government support for individuals.

‘It was hoped that 2022 would be the year that graphics and print media businesses could move forward and build back stronger: it is now clear that this will be impossible without urgent government action to cap industrial energy costs. An unprecedented crisis demands unprecedented intervention.

‘The new Prime Minister must move decisively to save jobs, save consumers money, and save our sector from an unsustainable blow. Inaction is no longer an option.’