News Industry

Printers have made the most of the wedding – this is from Union Jack World a Harry & Meghan flag

HARRY MOTTRAM FREELANCE JOURNALIST: Have the media fallen for the idea the Royal Wedding will give a billion pound boost to the economy? (when past evidence suggests such an occasion has a negligible effect and may even stall the nation’s finances)

Harry Mottram reports for Print Monthly

Despite the claims by some in the media the Royal Wedding on Saturday may not be the economic boost that is claimed.

Many editors have fallen for Brand Finance’s prediction that Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s nuptials would boost the UK economy by £1bn. Headlined by such diverse publications as Print Week and The Daily Mail the reality of the cash injection seems somewhat less sensational. Initially Brand Finance gave a figure half of that but they have doubled the number to the sensationally round figure of a billion – and why not? It is after all a guessing game. However with fine weather this weekend people will be out spending for a change anyway and this time there is no public holiday which immediately stalls the economy for 24 hours plus there’s the small matter of an advantageous exchange rate making it much cheaper for people visiting the UK from abroad.

If this all sounds a bit like Eeyore in The House at Pooh Corner then you are right. Nobody actually knows the real cost but research used by the Financial Times suggests there has in the past been little evidence to suggest there is a Royal wedding bounce to the economy. They FT reports the wedding is “unlikely to do much to boost Britain’s sluggish economy. Past royal weddings have had little impact on the economy, or even held back growth, as was the case with Prince William and Kate Middleton’s wedding in April 2011.”

It is now accepted by Government statistics that Will and Kate’s wedding stalled the economy due to the extra day off work

They point out that the Government’s own Office for National Statistics reported that Prince William’s nuptials saw a fall of around one and a half percent in output in the economy. Undoubtedly there is a lot of business associated with the wedding from printing invitations to tourists booking hotels and street parties organised and fuelled on cakes and tea. Advertising rates for network TV channels on the day have shot up in response to demand while Market Watch in their defence say their £1bn figure breaks down as tourism £300m; £300m in public-relations and advertising; £250m retail/restaurants; £150m fashion industry; and here’s the important one: a £50 million boost to merchandise which includes the printing industry.

A billion pound boost sounds good but it is guess work and history suggests if there wasn’t a Royal Wedding then the public would be spending their cash on other distractions. There is the FA Cup on the same day which annually generates more than £25m on its own according to Deloite while around the country there are a vast number of events and promotions that have nothing to do with the wedding suggesting life goes on as normal for most people – as does the economy.

The jury is still out on the economic benefits of Royal weddings although the marriage of Queen Elizabeth II helped to lift spirits for many in a post war Britain still undergoing food rationing

Back to that £50m figure. Certainly it is a welcome boost for the print industry and nobody will begrudge entrepreneurs and printers making the most of the event. Whether it is London print firm Barnard & Westwood who printed the invites or the rather less stylish Harry and Meghan swimsuits printed by Bags of Love in London – we wish them well – and of course the happy couple as well.

For more stories from Harry visit www.harrymottram.co.uk

For Harry on Twitter @harrythespiv and on Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, Pintrest, Blogger and Instagram as Harry Mottram

For more on the printing industry visit http://www.printmonthly.co.uk/

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One printer set up a fake Facebook site to lampoon the duo

HARRY MOTTRAM FREELANCE JOURNALIST: Threats, intimidation and lies – the business couple who have upset scores of customers across the UK and Europe – the customers are demanding their money back (but the couple claim they have ‘the highest authorities in the land’ to sue for libel any customer who complains)

Harry Mottram reports for Print Monthly

Threats and intimidation may not be the stock in trade of most in the printing industry but they appear to be the weapons deployed by one notorious print broker.

For more than two years Print Monthly has reported on ‘the Bonny and Clyde of the print industry’ as they take cash off unsuspecting customers for printing books and magazines leaving a trail of unhappiness in their wake. The victims are often first time self-publishers who look for a cheap printer online, quickly find one of the websites run by Neill Malcolm Stuart John and his partner Clair Hunnisett and order their print. Their mistake is always the same: to pay money up front. The print if it arrives at all is usually past deadline, wrong or short in numbers. Getting their money back is either impossible or involves a long drawn out process where part repayment may or may not happen. Or they have to take their case to the small claims court costing them time and money.

Since the ‘blackmail’ case of the author Trevor Montague who confronted Hunnisett at her home which led to a puzzling court case in which the writer was given a restraining order the duo have been emboldened. Take this letter they sent to another victim this month: “Dear Ms X. Please find attached a restraining order issued on April 24th 2018 against a defendant who behaved such as you have now publicly done. We have informed the authorities about your attempted blackmail and bullying. We’ve had our investigations by the highest authorities in the land and there is no more case for us to answer but legal consequences are coming for you now as they have for him. We’ve provided them with your contact information also. Regards Mal. Printing Press (Central Head ) Units 71-75, Shelton Street, London, WC2H 9JQ. Printing Press (Regional) Unit 272 Bath Street, Glasgow, G2 4JR.” If nothing else one suspects ‘Mal’ of having failed English Language GCSE at school.

The website changes its name regularly but the content remains the same

Ms X has requested her money back after the failure of The Printing Press to actually print anything she can use. As is the norm with ‘Mal’ (one of his aliases) he points to his terms and conditions to wriggle out of all responsibility but still banks the cash. Both addresses on his email are apparently for show as ‘Mal’ works from his home in Barry as he has no printing presses of his own. He references the uneven BBC report of the Trevor Montague case as though the courts have given him the all clear and are willing to support his argument. Note in the ‘blackmail’ case John did not win any damages or costs and the case did not address the disputed money or print job so Mal’s claim that ‘the highest authorities in the land’ endorse his position is nonsense. The case was about Montague and Hunnisett’s meeting in Barry. A few days ago another victim took John to court and got back every penny they were owed and has encouraged others to do the same. Their tip was simple: gather all your evidence, diary all dealings with ‘Bonny and Clyde’ and present your case professionally to the court.

The couple have been exposed by the local press, the Mirror and the BBC but continue to trade

The letter sent to Ms X has now formed the basis of a letter John sends to anyone who complains about their lost cash or incorrect print jobs. Many victims have told this publication that John becomes aggressive and rude on the phone when complaints are made or simply fails to communicate. Print Monthly’s advice is not to approach the couple but to use the legal system to seek justice. Threats and attempts to silence this publication by the couple are studiously ignored as they are bluffs –  as well as their charge that the stories are all ‘lies’.

In the meantime the couple continue to ply their trade changing the name of their website again. This publication understands John is now trading as The Hardback Printer Ltd, company no 11338184 along with a new web page http://www.bestpress.co.uk which is exactly the same design as his Houseprint, Best Printer, The Book Printer and all the other ones. John is still registering the web addresses to Universal Printing Corporation (Houseprint) company no 8087273.

Ian Carrott of the print credit intelligence group who warn members about rogue traders says he has never known anything like this before. He comments: “I’ve come across a few rotten apples in the business but they usually disappear when the media exposes them. But this is incredible. To do the same ‘dodgy’ business practice under different names for month after month is something I’ve not seen before. Sooner or later he will pick on the wrong person and that will be his nemesis.”

For more stories from Harry visit www.harrymottram.co.uk

For Harry on Twitter @harrythespiv and on Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube and Instagram as Harry Mottram

For more on the printing industry visit http://www.printmonthly.co.uk/


Paul and Nancy get hitched. Pic: NME

HARRY MOTTRAM FREELANCE JOURNALIST: The strange story of the Trucker, the Mafia and the Beatle (and an insight into the New York heiress and her family)

Harry Mottram reports for Big Rig Finance

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HARRY MOTTRAM FREELANCE JOURNALIST: The strange story of how the ‘Bonnie and Clyde of the print industry’ won a case of blackmail against one of their ‘victims’ in a long running saga involving ‘scores of victims’ in a case of  ‘business bad practice’ as reported by the BBC, the Daily Mirror, and the Daily Mail (and the trade publication Print Monthly Magazine)

 

Harry Mottram reports

Article picture

A best-selling author accused of blackmail has been banned from contacting a Wales-based printing company for ten years.

The author claims to be one of those who has lost out to the print broker best known as Neill Malcolm Stuart John (although he works under several pseudonyms) and Hunnisett—who describes him as her “boyfriend.”

The pair were nicknamed ‘The Bonnie and Clyde’ of the print industry by Jonathan Haskell, father of England Rugby player James Haskell, after he lost money in dealings with them.

Montague is behind a string of books on facts such as The A to Z of Everything and has had a career appearing on several TV game shows. He appeared in Cardiff Crown Court formerly accused of blackmail, although the nature of the blackmail was not disclosed.

The BBC wrote: “A best-selling author accused of blackmail has been banned from contacting a Wales-based printing company for ten years. Trevor Montague, 63, agreed to the restraining order ahead of a trial at Cardiff Crown Court. The case was dropped, and prosecutor Gareth James said the complainant wished to “put the matter behind them”. Mr Montague, of Crawley, West Sussex, wrote “A to Z” books of facts and made several TV quiz show appearances. He claims to have sales of more than three million. He was accused of blackmailing a printing firm based in Barry, Vale of Glamorgan.”

Their activities first came to light after angry customers took to social media and the internet after Houseprint (trading as The Printing House, The Book Printer, UK Print, and several other pseudonyms) went bust in November 2016 owing hundreds of thousands of Pounds in unpaid bills. This was along with incomplete or undelivered print orders to scores of UK customers and publishers. Hunissett is listed on Companies House as the sole director of this company, although Print Monthly’s investigations have led to the conclusion that John was the front man. The Printing House trading name is completely unconnected with Crewe-based The Printing House.
John has been accused by scores of writers, publishers, printers and self-publishers of taking money up front, not delivering what was ordered, or not paying contractors for print orders.

Print Monthly has championed the unhappy customers and suppliers in several stories over the last two years when they have supplied concrete evidence to support their claims. As a result, Print Monthly has been threatened with court action by Hunnisett due to the ongoing documenting and reporting of customer complaints connected to the companies she and John have been directors of. She states they are “lies from the internet”, and that Print Monthly is “writing lies”.

Montague told Print Monthly he knocked on the door of the home of Hunnisett, which he believed her to share with John, in order to have a “calm discussion” about a print job. A confrontation which then ensued is apparently what led to the court case.

A story exposing John’s business practices was taken down the same day from the Barry and District News website.

If you have an interesting story or a view on this news, then please e-mail news@printmonthly.co.uk


The staff pictured outside the printing and publishing firm in Wales

HARRY MOTTRAM FREELANCE JOURNALIST: how a family business helped to save the Welsh language back in the 1960s and has built a thriving publishing firm today (in a business trend that is at odds compared to the declining print industry in England)

Harry Mottram reports

The Welsh printing company Y Lolfa based in Tal-y-bont has expanded its machine range by bringing in a digital press to complement its litho offering.

Established back in 1967 by Robat Gruffudd to help drive the revival of the Welsh language the firm has seen slow and steady growth in line with an increased interest in the language. Robat’s son Garmon Gruffudd is the current managing director while his brother Lefi is the general editor with Paul Williams as production manager.

“We have two litho presses which we are keeping,” says Garmon, “but we are buying a new digital press because it is ideal for shorter runs, especially for reprinting when some customers want small print runs. We are involved the Welsh language publishing project with four or five other publishers to print more books in Welsh for people wanting to learn the language. It’s a growing market with the aim to get one million Welsh readers and speakers.”

With 20 employees the firm is something of a success story in the worlds of magazine, newspaper and book printing as it is difficult to find its equivalent in England. It all began with a basic small offset litho printer turning out material for Cymdeithas yr Iaith Gymraeg (The Welsh Language Society) as well as printing its own satirical magazine called Lol which evolved into the firm’s name. The idea was to publish reading material in the Welsh language which had been in danger of becoming so marginalised it could have died out and over the years had been subject to hostile legislation such as the Laws in Wales Acts 1535 and 1542 which decreed only English could be used in legal cases, the courts and in Government. It led to an increase in the use of spoken English encouraged in all walks of life including schools and was only partly reversed in 1967 with the Welsh Language Act. In 1993 the language was finally put on an equal footing with English with the second Welsh Language Act which accounts for the dual translations in official documents, road signs and all manner of instructions and printed material. It’s been a boon for the print industry across the misty covered Cambrian mountains.

For Y Lolfa it meant a continued revenue stream as the public began to demand novels, works of non-fiction, poetry, plays, magazines and school material to be printed in Welsh.

“With the Welsh language books it is mainly for Welsh speakers, but also for schools for children learning the language,” comments Garmon, “that’s become a big part of the market. The books in Welsh are distributed through Welsh language book shops in market towns across the country. There is a lot of interest in England in the language and throughout the world to be honest.”

The firm occupies a former police station and has had to build an extension to provide space for the continued growth with more than half a century clocked up. However despite the success the company continues to stay close to its roots printing various community newspapers and periodicals and also printing in English as well although the themes and contents are always essentially Cymbru and the land of my fathers.

For more stories from Harry visit www.harrymottram.co.uk

For Harry on Twitter @harrythespiv and on Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube and Instagram as Harry Mottram

For more on the printing industry visit http://www.printmonthly.co.uk/

 


A current passport and De La Rue’s last company report featuring a model holding the new blue passport – were they jumping the gun?

HARRY MOTTRAM FREELANCE JOURNALIST: row over who will print the post-Brexit blue passport blows up as Remainers say ‘I told you so’ and Leavers say ‘it must be printed in the UK’ (but was there a darker reason why the UK’s De La Rue put in such a high price and failed to land the job)

Harry Mottram reports

Last week De La Rue plc, the security and anti-counterfeiting printer for banknotes, identity and passports announced it had not been awarded the contract by Her Majesty’s Passport Office (HMPO) to print the post Brexit blue passports. Instead the contract has gone to the French Dutch firm Gemalto with a lower price of £120m.

In a statement the company says: “De La Rue has worked closely with HMPO over the last nine years, designing and producing the UK passport and establishing it as one of the most secure passports in the world. The current ten-year contract has a total value of £400m. Today’s decision is expected to have no impact on the performance of current and next financial year as we continue to fulfil the contract until July 2019 and assist with the transition process thereafter. The Company is disappointed with the outcome of the tender process and will now consider its options including an appeal.”

The decision caused a Brexit row with Remainers suggesting this is a consequence of the 52-48 leave vote while Leavers saying there will be some economic damage initially but overall leaving the EU will be good for the economy. The local MP for Teeside MP Simon Clarke near where De La Rue has a printing plant wrote in the Northern Echo: “Mrs May made a point of meeting Nissan bosses in the wake of her ‘Brexit means Brexit’ speech to reassure them that Britain’s ‘special relationship’ with the Japanese car firm, which includes hefty financial incentives funded by British taxpayers, will continue after the UK leaves the EU. No doubt a similar behind-closed doors deal could have been struck to ensure that the soon to return British blue passports would be made by current supplier, the De La Rue factory at Team Valley, Gateshead. Instead a French firm tendered the lowest bid and is set to win the lucrative and symbolically important order.”

The fortnightly trade magazine Print Week seemed glad to report on the various excuses made by De La Rue’s chief executive Martin Sutherland who said Gemalto’s bid was too low and that: “These are such tight margins, or even negative margins, that’s just not a viable business. It’s an incredulously low price. This bid is so low that you have to question whether it’s viable.”

However the Mail on Sunday suggested another more (and perhaps more likely reason) and that was De La Rue were trying to cover a black hole in their pension fund by inflating the price for the British tax payer. Jonathan Bucks wrote: “The British firm that lost out on a lucrative contract to print the UK’s first post-Brexit passports is facing accusations that its bid was inflated in an attempt to fill a vast pensions black hole. The decision to pass over De La Rue in favour of Franco-Dutch firm Gemalto last week should save taxpayers £120 million, but sparked an outcry over the Government’s lack of patriotism by handing the ten-year contract from 2019 to a foreign-owned company. But now The Mail on Sunday can reveal that De La Rue is grappling with an eye-watering £189 million pension deficit, which is almost 40 per cent of the company’s value and high enough to imperil its future, according to experts.”

Ignoring this theory, the trade magazine’s Jo Francis feverishly reported on the number of online signatures that had been amassed for petitions calling for the decision to be reversed and the “huge volume of comments being made on social media.” On Twitter a lively debate broke out with many pointing out that De La Rue print bank notes and passports for various countries and the bidding process was all about the free market – something that Brexiteers crave for. Robert Stauss writing in the Finantial Times comments: “Why is it OK for De La Rue to produce passports, money and so on for other countries but unreasonable for another company when it is for the UK?”

In the meantime the share price for De La Rue has slipped initially dropping five percent on the news of lost contract although there has been a slight rally since last week. The company has its HQ in Basingstoke with additional sites in Gateshead, Westhoughton, Debden, Overton and Bathford, and employs hundreds of workers in the UK. The firm employs 3,150 people around the world producing seven billion items in passports and bank notes for more than 40 countries a year and has been in business for more than 100 years.

Due to De La Rue appealing against the decision and an online campaign and in the media to reverse the ruling the Government has granted more time for the printing company to reappraise their bid.

For more stories from Harry visit www.harrymottram.co.uk

For Harry on Twitter @harrythespiv and on Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube and Instagram as Harry Mottram

For more on the printing industry visit http://www.printmonthly.co.uk/

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Ian Carrott of ICSM Credit

HARRY MOTTRAM FREELANCE JOURNALIST: industry credit expert pours scorn on Chancellor’s consultations with small businesses over Carillion-esque invoicing terms (as the late payment culture continues to bring down companies large and small)

Harry Mottram reports

With the news of more insolvencies in the printing industry Print Monthly sort the views of one of the key figures in the business who knows some of the dark secrets of struggling firms.

Ian Carrott of ICSM Credit the printing industry’s business finance intelligence group whose members circulate information about who is in trouble says the problem remains the same. Namely that of companies not sticking to their terms and conditions. Print Week reported this week that Bournemouth Colour Press had gone into voluntary liquidation in part due to a supplier running out of patience. They said the supplier issued a winding up petition: “forcing the company to pay £25,000 up front in January.”

Although each case is different with a range of factors Carrott believes that allowing customers to have extended credit terms can be fatal. He comments: “Late payment is a perennial problem for the print industry which traditionally has had a feature of ‘my word is my bond’ with personal assurances on credit terms. The problem is when things get tight financially that personal assurance is quickly abandoned. At ICSM Credit we frequently hear of suppliers refusing to chase up late payments for various reasons that include ‘not upsetting a good customer’ to the blind belief their customer will always pay and even a total lack of credit control. The consequence is the print firm may be running up a huge overdraft or are unable to pay their own debts when the money they have earned is sitting in their client’s bank account.”

With Polestar, Headley Brothers, Henna, FT and Henry Stone all hitting the rocks it is usually the suppliers and the workers that are hit hardest. Criticism is aimed at the directors and owners who allow their firms to get into debt but sometimes seem to come out of their operation’s demise smelling of roses. Pre-packs, swift changes to a business name, asset stripping and take-overs that promise much but deliver little have become features of today’s industry says Carrott.

He continues: “The Chancellor announced consultations with small businesses in his budget but we have heard it all before. There is partly a culture of late payment within the industry and partly a need for legislation. To start with it would make a huge difference if the Government were to insist on all Government, local Governments and tax payer funded organisations and their contractors and their subcontractors to pay on 30 days. That would take care of a huge chunk of British industry and would set an example to the rest of the country.”

Sadly it would seem the current sharp practices and late payment atmosphere shows no signs of changing any time soon.

For more stories from Harry visit www.harrymottram.co.uk

For Harry on Twitter @harrythespiv and on Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube and Instagram as Harry Mottram


Brenda Dean (1943-2018)

HARRY MOTTRAM FREELANCE JOURNALIST: death of Brenda Dean announced – the leader of SOGAT82 who took on the might of Rupert Murdock’s News International and lost (and the defeat of her trade union has led to fewer rights for workers ever since)

Harry Mottram reports

 

Brenda Dean, one of the leading figures of the print industry trade union movement has died at the age of 74 bringing to a close in one sense of the Wapping dispute that saw print workers in conflict with Rupert Murdoch.

Brenda Dean led the trade union Society of Graphical and Allied Trades (Sogat) in an ill-fated battle with News International in Fleet Street in the 1980s which sounded the death knell on Fleet Street’s pivotal position in the print industry. The dispute lasted from 1986 to 1987 and ended in defeat for the workers after Murdoch’s News International set up a new plant in Wapping making the Fleet Street site redundant along with 5,500 workers. Dean had attempted to broker a deal with Murdoch for which she was heavily criticised for by many of her Sogat members.

There were bitter clashes between workers and the police

With Sogat broken and financially drained after the punishing strike the trade union merged with the smaller National Graphical Association (NGA) to become the Graphical, Paper and Media Union (GPMU) before joining forces with Unite. Brenda was narrowly defeated in a leadership battle to lead the new GPMU and served for a few months as its deputy leader. In 1992 she was nominated to join the House of Lords which she did as Lady Dean of Thornton-le-Fylde.

For those too young to recall the bitter trade union disputes of the 1980s when the Conservative Government of Margaret Thatcher took on and defeated some of the biggest names in the trade union movement then Brenda Dean’s name may seem meaningless. At the time she appeared on TV news regularly and was known for her good looks and passionate but pragmatic views on the rights of print workers. And remarkably she was the first woman to lead a major trade union in what was then a male dominated industry – and it has to be said – still is. Incidentally Sogat became Sogat82 after the union merged with the Natsopa union (National Society of Operative Printers and Assistants) in – you’ve guessed it: 1982.

Anne Field of Unite told Print Monthly that the Wapping dispute had changed the industry forever. It led to management excesses, the collapse in the working conditions for those in the print industry as well as for journalists in the newspaper industry and heralded in anti-union legislation that continues to this day. However others saw the dispute differently. Speaking to the Guardian newspaper five years ago Andrew Neil who was then a News International editor (and now a regular host of BBC political programmes) described the situation that created the dispute as: “…all that was wrong with British industry: pusillanimous management, pig-headed unions, crazy restrictive practices, endless strikes and industrial disruption, and archaic technology”.

Fleet Street in 1890 when it was the centre of the printing industry

There’s more on the print industry at http://www.printmonthly.co.uk/

and from Harry at www.harrymottram.co.uk
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The happy couple get hitched in May

HARRY MOTTRAM FREELANCE JOURNALIST: a brief history of Royal wedding invites from Henry VIII to Prince Harry (as the Royal wedding invitations for Harry and Meghan’s big day go in the post)

Harry Mottram reports

The news that employee owned printing trust Barnard & Westwood of London have printed the invitations to Print Harry and Meghan Markle’s wedding on May 19, reminds the printing industry of the long heritage of the wedding invite.

Before the advent of printing in the late 15th and early 16th centuries wedding invites were issued by town crier or word of mouth for the illiterate and hand written for those who could read which were mainly the educated and upper classes. Printed invites to Royal weddings did not appear until later in the 18th century when the quality of print had improved to include that most over used type face: palace script. For those who object to the country having a Royal family the nation’s only Republican leader Oliver Cromwell got hitched to Elizabeth Bourchier in London in 1620 with hand written invitations the most likely form of notification.

The invitations are in the post

If there was one man who could have done with a ready template for a printed wedding invite in the Royal lineage it was Henry VIII. He wed six times and there is no truth in the rumour that he simply had one invite printed with a blank space for his future wife’s name. Like all ruling monarchs the invitations were sent out by The Lord Chamberlain and you certainly didn’t refuse by saying you were washing your wig that day. The Lord Chamberlain had the power to have you beheaded for many an indiscretion. Henry’s invites would have been made by a Royal Courier or herald who would turn up on horseback and make the announcement.

Lottie printed all 600 invites

In the 17th century printing had really expanded as an industry with pamphlets, leaflets, news sheets and posters being turned out by the thousand as the heady politics of the Civil War, the Commonwealth Government and the Restoration unfolded. In 1642 metal-plate engraving was introduced and the printed wedding invitation business began to take hold amongst the well-heeled. By the end of the 18th century lithography aided the ever expanding business of printing invites, although they were still mostly delivered by horse-back rider usually packed in two envelopes. A standard one for outer protection and an inner one to compliment the invite – a tradition that continues to this day although few are delivered by horse riders.

By the early 19th century the printing of wedding invitations had become a staple of most print factories and as literacy increased and technology improved various flourishes, fancy borders and embossing new techniques were included to add value and style to the message. The wedding invitation for the marriage of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert in 1840 set the style, layout, terminology and design for the next two centuries. Printed on a blue card the type is centred for the venue and date are centred with a signature to the bottom right and a Royal Crest above with the fonts chosen being Palace Script and a bold Gothic face. Looking at Harry and Meghan’s invitation there would seem little has changed in this most simple of printed message. Less is more as they say. Harry and Meghan’s invitation uses a London printer, paper from Cumbria and ink fittingly from America to recognise the Trans-Atlantic nature of the affair.

Invite to Queen Victoria’s wedding set the style

Barnard & Westwood’s print worker Lottie Small, who recently completed her apprenticeship, printed all 600 of the invitations using die stamping, on a machine from the 1930s that she calls Maude. Antique printing presses are retained in many print shops due to their reliability, long life and quality of print – if not for their speed. The printing company holds royal warrants of appointment granted by Queen Elizabeth II (1986) and the Prince of Wales (2012), and supplies a range of bespoke stationery as well as printing books and the usual range of literature. The firm based near Kings Cross is now owned by the workers as a trust and has for this day and age a long history which began just after the First World War when the war veteran Albert Reginald Barnard set up the firm with the help of his aunt Miss Westwood in 1921. Eddie Kopley of the International Master Printers Federation joined the firm as a partner in 1941 and steered the firm towards the niche market of upmarket stationery and quality printing despite the paper rationing of the time. In 1946 Barnard & Westwood joined forces with E. Nicholas Printers while in June 2015, Barnard & Westwood went from being a family-run company to an employee-owned enterprise.

The invites to the May wedding are die-stamped in gold and then burnished, and features The Three Feather Badge of The Prince of Wales. The Daily Telegraph reported Austen Kopley, the managing director of the firm, as saying: “The wedding of Prince Harry and Ms. Meghan Markle will be a truly special occasion and we are thrilled to be able to create equally special invitations for their guests. We are incredibly honoured to continue our longstanding work for The Royal Family, and to be involved in such an important moment for the couple and their family and friends.”

Apart from the 600 invitations for the wedding ceremony in St George’s Chapel in Windsor there are also more than 2,000 invites for the two receptions. So check your post just in case you’ve got an invite.

More about the print industry at http://www.printmonthly.co.uk and from Harry at www.harrymottram.co.uk
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HARRY MOTTRAM FREELANCE JOURNALIST: a video report from the Wasps Arena at the Ricoh Stadium in Coventry on the Print Week Live Show (it was very nice – but there weren’t too many people there)

Harry Mottram reports

Visitor numbers at the Print Week Live event held at the Wasps Arena in Coventry last week were estimated to be at around the 2,000 mark raising questions by some over the future of trade shows for the print industry. To be honest it wasn’t very busy although as a talking shop and networking event it had its merits.

In 2014 the print show Ipex recorded about 23,000 visitors to its Excel venue in London down from 2010 when 50,000 passed through the doors of the show but by last year numbers were down to 7,000. The Print Show has usurped Ipex as the industry’s number one exhibition holding their event at the NEC this September having gone head to head last year against Ipex in something of  High Noon showdown in which Ipex blinked first.

 

There has been an increase in open days at print manufacturing showrooms as buyers come under time constraints. One delegate at the Wasps Arena said that once upon a time the whole workforce would go by coach to a trade show. A day out to see new kit – but as he pointed out there was no kit to see at the arena.

More stories on the print industry at Print Monthly at www.printmonthly.co.uk and freelance reports from Harry at www.harrymottram.co.uk as well as at www.icsmcredit.com
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HARRY MOTTRAM FREELANCE JOURNALIST: a report from the NEC this week where there was a trade show for the packaging industry (and the hot topic was one use plastic)

Harry Mottram reports

Despite driving snow and freezing temperatures across the UK the Packaging Innovation show went ahead as planned at the NEC this week.

The show is of interest to those in the printing industry due to the cross-over of technologies and businesses with many printers engaged in packaging work. Much of what the show is about concerns the food and beverage markets, which are in effect worlds of their own due to the heavy regulation that is necessary to cope with health and hygiene. Because of this a jobbing printer can’t simply move into the sector major investment in kit and education. However there are numerous aspects of the packaging industry which affect almost all printers such as label printing, packaging print safely and securely, transportation and storage and the recycling of paper and card.

One of the hot topics is that of recycling with the issue crystallised in the debate over the single use coffee cup. It appears solutions may be available soon according to the speakers on the event’s EcoPack stage with Dr John Williams of Aquapak Polymers extolling the virtues of Hydropol, a “revolutionary biodegradable and recyclable plastic that answers the call for a cost-neutral sustainable packaging polymer.”

The charge that the food packaging industry produces large amounts of plastic which ends up in landfills prompted a succession of speakers to explain what the industry is trying to do about the situation. Although well meant the evidence that more needs to be done is found along the side of the M42 leading to the NEC where plastic trash litters the roadside.

David Harding-Brown of the Packaging Collective told Print Monthly that the industry had been guilty in the past but efforts were being made to change that. He says: “Plastics do have a part to play in packaging. The mineral based plastics that have been used traditionally have been vilified in the press with a certain amount of justification, but the industry has woken up to the fact that alternatives must be found.”

The Big Print Debate as it was billed at the show was all about printing labels – a subject close to many printers’ hearts as it is one revenue stream that doesn’t seem to dry up. Which is why some at the show were drawn to the debate that has as its title: “Is the label near to its best-by date – or is there more to it than meets the eye?”

With Mike Fairley in the chair there was a lively debate about the growth rather than the contraction of the label market with the panellists drawn from marketing, retail and printing. The audience heard that the market of labels has grown globally at nearly five percent a year and is soon to be worth £45bn worldwide prompting the question why was the debate implying its demise? It wasn’t. Neutral observers will tell you that there is nothing like a provocative title to bring in the punters – which of course is what happened in this case. The label business is big business – a fact emphasised by the amount of print machine manufacturers at the show.

Rodney Steel of the British Contract Manufacturers and Packers Association (BCMPA) explained why the BCMPA can help printers, designers and marketing firms by leading them to companies who can be subcontracted in the packaging chain. He says that by using their website a printer who has an enquiry about packaging a liquid for instance can quickly find a firm that can do the job by completing an easy to follow enquiry form online. The point being that when printers are asked about packaging – especially beauty and beverage products – there is no need for them to turn away the work. Instead the BCMPA members are all accredited outfits who can be subcontracted to complete the job.

One aspect of the show was the emphasis on training and education. The Packaging Society’s stand was all about how important it was for workers to be trained in the specialist disciplines of packaging in particular the complexities of the food, beverage and medical fields where a multitude of rules and regulations are in force. Their point was that some larger printing firms that are looking to diversify into packaging would do well to send members of staff on one of their courses with a view to eventually attracting new business with informed knowledge of the industry.

The weather did take a hit on numbers with the show closing early on day two as snow began falling across the country but with packaging proving to be the big winner in the print industry, there is no reason why the exhibition will continue to grow. This year’s show was the biggest yet. Readers may be interested in a second Packaging Innovation show taking in London at Olympia on September 12-13, with this exhibition concentrating on the luxury market. The printing industry would do well to study packaging as one area of industry that continues to grow year on year.

More stories on the print industry at Print Monthly at www.printmonthly.co.uk and freelance reports from Harry at www.harrymottram.co.uk

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Marriage of opposites: the left leaning Mirror and the right leaning Express are now owed by Trinity Mirror

Marriage of opposites: the left leaning Mirror and the right leaning Express are now owed by Trinity Mirror

HARRY MOTTRAM FREELANCE JOURNALIST: Jobs on the line over the marriage of political opposites with the Mirror Express deal (and Trinity Mirror’s £2m a year CEO says duplication will see cuts – but it’s good for shareholders)

Despite the reassurances from both Unite and Trinity Mirror, there is little belief amongst workers at the media group that the purchase of Northern and Shell will not result in job cuts. It sees the publisher of the Daily Mirror takeover the Daily Express and other titles, with more redundancies likely.

Harry Mottram reports

A year ago, Trinity Mirror made 78 redundancies in its regional newspapers with 40 more in September and more again just before Christmas, while some local titles were shut down altogether.
The acquisition of Northern and Shell will see yet more job cuts in Trinity Mirror with so-called duplication being the main reason for redundancies. Print Weekly reported Unite’s Louisa Bull claiming that print workers’ jobs may not be affected with expected cuts expected amongst ‘white collar’ workers in editorial. This suggestion may ring hollow as the Mirror have shut print plants in Newcastle-upon-Tyne and in Wales in the last two years with the loss of scores of print jobs.
The Times reported last week that: “Significant job losses are expected after the owner of the Daily Mirror agreed to pay £126.7m for titles including the Daily Express, the Daily Star, and OK! magazine. In one of the most significant deals in the newspaper industry in decades, Trinity Mirror is buying the publishing assets of Northern and Shell, owned by Richard Desmond.”

Significant job losses are expected after the owner of the Daily Mirror agreed to pay £126.7m for titles including the Daily Express, the Daily Star, and OK! magazine

It went on to say that Simon Fox, chief executive of Trinity Mirror, (who earns in salary and benefits around £2m a year), says: “Job cuts are inevitable as the company seeks savings of £20m a year.” One worker who wished to remain anonymous told Print Monthly that workers had been reassured of job security in October in one Trinity Mirror centre only to be made redundant a month later.
The National Union of Journalists’ Michelle Stanistreet comments: “The NUJ is concerned that Trinity Mirror, with its long record of making cuts to its newspapers, will not be the knight on the white horse they were hoping for.”
Fox comments: “This deal is a really exciting moment in Trinity Mirror’s history, combining some of the most iconic titles in the UK media industry. It is good for our readers, good for our customers, and good for our shareholders. Northern and Shell’s titles have a large and loyal readership, a growing digital presence and a stable revenue mix and offer an excellent fit with Trinity Mirror.”
The deal sees the left leaning Daily Mirror and the right leaning Brexit supporting Express owned by Trinity Mirror, who will also acquire the Daily Star and magazines such as OK! but not Richard Desmond’s stable of porn magazine titles as they were sold in 2004.
For more stories about the printing industry visit:

http://www.printmonthly.co.uk/News/Business/6382/jobs-on-the-line-over-trinity-mirror-deal

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The prestigious ‘official address’ of the print farmer in Canary Wharf

The ‘official address’ of the print farmer in Canary Wharf

HARRY MOTTRAM FREELANCE JOURNALIST: after an open letter is published signed by the victims of a notorious businessman he is already back in business under a new name trading from Canary Wharf

The notorious print farmer Neill Malcolm Stuart John is back in business offering his services as The Book and Catalogue Printer after being roundly condemned by previous customers as ‘fraudulent’.

Despite the letterhead of The Book and Catalogue Printer he uses as his base for his business operation the website www.thebestprinter.co.uk and even having the slight handicap of having no printing presses and living in Barry in Wales he lists his address at Canary Wharf in London implying he is a major player in the industry.

He tells customers that his is “a bona fide and legitimate organisation which is irrefutable” and goes on to claim he prints hundreds of jobs every month. Delivery times are three to five weeks but somewhat in contradiction reminds clients in his terms and conditions that: “in the event of supplier failure. The Seller has a 20 week window to fulfil an order before agreeing to terminate the contract with the customer.”

Alarmingly his claims are in complete contrast to the scores of complaints sent to Print Monthly with more arriving every day. Exasperated former customers complain of late or no delivery, no ISBN numbers being printed on books, little or no communication after they have paid up front, and legal threats when they complain.

Remarkably he states: “The Best Printer are a London based Printing Company who have exclusive arrangements with the largest partners in the UK and Europe. Our annual spend with them is significant enough to afford us an unparalleled level of service from them with the added bonus of dealing with a UK firm. We specialize in jobs with lots of pages and lots of finishing. We are highly competitive at medium runs of 500 – 5000 copies. Our staff have over 20 years of experience within the industry and are here to hold your hand throughout the entire process. We take your artwork, troubleshoot it for problems, offer to fix any errors that may impair the job, proof, print and deliver your job to your door quickly and seamlessly.”

An open letter signed by more than 50 of his ex-customers has been circulated to the media, the trade press, the BBC, the police and trading standards calling for action to stop him. So far all attempts have failed.

Ian Carrott of ICSM the print credit intelligence group who specialise in keeping their members in the know about fraud, bad debts and late payers says it beggars belief that Neill Malcolm Stuart John is able to get away with daylight robbery. He has consistently warned of paying money up front from an unknown supplier and to contact those purporting to give testimonials as they can be fictitious.

One printer who wished to remain anonymous told this publication that: “I’m amazed nobody has been round to sort him out.” It is a sentiment shared by many who have contacted Print Monthly.

More at http://www.printmonthly.co.uk/ and www.harrymottram.co.uk

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The couple have been dubbed 'The Bonny and Clyde of the Print Industry' by victims

The couple have been dubbed ‘The Bonny and Clyde of the Print Industry’ by victims

HARRY MOTTRAM FREELANCE JOURNALIST: open letter to the law enforcement authorities, Government officials, the media and the general public about the notorious businessman Neill Malcolm Stuart John (who has lost hundreds of thousands of pounds of his clients’ cash and continues to trade)

An open letter has been emailed to the authorities, media and Government officials demanding action over the dealings of the businessman Neill Malcolm Stuart John of Barry in Wales. For more than two years journalist Harry Mottram has been exposing and reporting on his activities which entail less than honest trading in the printing and publishing industries. Together with his partner and co-director of some of his firms Clare Hunnisett (often known as the ‘Bonny and Clyde’ of the print industry) he has left a  long list of printers, graphic designers, publishers, print finishers and members of the public out of pocket.

Despite mounting evidence from the testimonies of scores of angry customers John continues to trade.

The letter:

From Harry Mottram (freelance journalist) on behalf of countless victims

Open letter calling for action over the business activities of Neill Stuart Malcolm John

End the activities of the ‘Bonny and Clyde’ of the Print Industry

We the undersigned wish to draw the attention of the general public, graphic designers, small and medium sized businesses of all types, self-publishers, authors, publishers and printers, the media, the law, politicians and the authorities to the business activities of Neill Stuart Malcolm John of Barry near Cardiff in the Vale of Glamorgan, Wales.

Using a number of business names, limited companies and mixing up first and second names Neill Stuart Malcolm John (we understand this is his correct name) has traded as a print farmer or broker but has consistently failed to provide the service he advertises for more than two years. His various names include Andy, Mal and Mr Poppleton as well as many others and he changes his names and the spellings of his names and adjusts his date of birth to evade justice. For evidence see his various names as directors of hundreds of firms at Companies House.

He also uses his terms and conditions to wriggle out of responsibility. He operates online only and takes money up front which he fails to repay when the printing job is not delivered or printed correctly. When customers complain he uses all manner of excuses not to repay their cash and relies on them giving up trying as they do not want to “throw good money after bad.” He does not own a print factory or any presses but works alone or occasionally with a colleague.

There are two types of victims involved. Firstly members general public, graphic designers, small and medium sized businesses of all types, self-publishers, digital printers, litho printers, authors and publishers who wish to have a book, brochures or other literature printed. They find his website which offers large discounts and below the market rate prices and trust he is genuine only to discover to their cost he does not live up to his promises. The sums involve range from a few hundred pounds to many thousands. After contacting around 100 customers only four said they were satisfied with their dealings with him.

The second type of victim are print firms in the UK and Europe. They are initially paid for work commissioned by Neill Stuart Malcolm John but after he has gained their trust he will order work which is not paid for. Due to the distances involved they are reluctant to chase after him for payment or to take legal action as again they do not want to “throw good money after bad.” They come from as far as Turkey and Russia, plus the Baltic states of Latvia and Lithuania and include Poland and the Czech Republic amongst others.

Despite the actions of Neil Stuart Malcolm John being called out in the trade press, the national press and the BBC he continues to ply his trade regularly changing his firm’s name on the internet. He and his partner Clare Hunnisett who is often listed as a director of his firms have been dubbed the ‘Bonny and Clyde’ of the Print Industry by victims for their reckless behaviour in not fulfilling orders or refunding money or indeed repaying any money at all.

Those who have signed below are only a small proportion of his unhappy customers. Most say his activities amount to fraud although the more charitable may call him a dishonest trader and some even suggest he has a mental condition. The money lost to this man amounts to hundreds of thousands of pounds with self-publishers, businesses and printers most hit – but there are others including charities. His numerous firms are listed at Companies House – one of which (House Print) was liquidated in 2016 with no assets. Some customers have taken him to court and have failed to get a penny whilst Action Fraud failed recently to make a case against him stick.

We call upon the police department’s Action Fraud, the Insolvency Service, the Member of Parliament for the Vale of Glamorgan the Rt Hon Alun Cairnes, the Vale of Glamorgan Council’s Trading Standards department, the Welsh Assembly Member for the Vale of Glamorgan Jane Hutt, the Home Secretary Amber Rudd and David Gauke the Lord Chancellor to initiate immediate action to end Neill Stuart Malcolm John’s business activities.

We also call on all victims to send comprehensive evidence of their dealings with him to Action Fraud and the Vale of Glamorgan Council’s Trading Standards department so they can investigate their individual cases.

For more details of his activities Google his name Neill Stuart Malcolm John and discover the long list of disappointed customers and suppliers and his disgraceful business practices.

Yours the undersigned

Harry Mottram. Freelance journalist

Peter Morgan. Photographer

Magda Wieczorek. Author

Dorri Roughley. Publisher

Paul Day. Customer

Bina Naik. Designer.

Allan Phin. Customer

Isabella Housley. Customer Barbara Jago. Customer

Brendan Perring. Editor of Print Monthly

Ian Carrott. ICSM

Matthew Strong. Customer

Berni Albrighton. Customer

Rick Wilson. Customer

Eleanor Baggaley. Yellow Brick Road Academy

Steve Lampon. Customer

Mr Tab Kimpton. Cartoonist

Oliver Szikszay jr. Managing Director. Szo-Kep Printing ltd. (Hungarian print firm)

John Hemming-Clark. Author

Richard Osborne. Customer

April Stobbart. Customer

Magdalena Wieczorek. Author

Nikki Collins. Managing Director. NMP Collins Innovations Ltd

Jonathan Haskell. Marketing executive

Artur Broks. Sales director. UnitedPress Tipografija SIA, Latvia

Nigel Mitchell. Director, Biddles Books Limited.

Jeff Krotz. Photographer, All The World’s A Studio. Self-employed.

Robin Smith. Robin Smith Fine Art Ltd

Berni Albrighton. Customer

Heather Chamberlain. Customer

Monika Krajinova. Grafia Nova Printing. Czech Republic

Jozsef. Ofszet Nyomda Printers, Budapest, Hungary

Jacyntha Crawley. Customer

Mark Hughes. Managing Director. PAGE Creative Ltd

Jahanara Rahman. Customer

Steve Cooper. Spitting Lizard

Sita Brand. Settle Stories

Jenny Knowles. Publisher. Little Knoll Press

Ann Marie Dalton. Customer

Stephen Tofts. Director. Benchmark Training & Development

Natalie Fox. Customer

Piotr Stachurski. Quad Graphics

Mary McGuire. Customer

Rachael Dingis. Customer

Dave Taylor. Customer

Gerry Grant. Customer

Jahanara Rahman

Adele Lea. Customer

Duncan Gough. Customer

Hugh Hollinghurst. Customer

Peter Maguire League Chairman. Wearside Football Leagues

Jill Hogben. Church printing

Stacey Hicken. Customer

Graham Treglown (GTA Creative)

Mariezain Kabba. Customer

Robin of Situation Press

Mark Worrall. Customer

Philip Caine. Customer

Peter J Nash. Customer

Patrick Thorne. Customer

Patricia Sealy. Company Director

Allan Sealy. Freelance Graphic designer

Lyndon Stokes. Owner 34FINEART LTD.

Caroline Whittle. CEO Out of the Hutch

Heather Odom. Business Manager Out of the Hutch

Peter Maguire. Publisher of 125 years of league football

Keith Righelato. Viosimos Enterprise

Katie West. Fiction & Feeling Ltd.

Jacky Davison. Writer.

Alice Humble. Director of Humble Fit Ltd

Anne Cooper. Publisher

Katy Rink. Editor, My Shrewsbury

Nairobi Thompson. Self-published and published writer and poet.

Pauline Reid. Independent Creative

Rob Hewson. Hewson Consultants Ltd

 

Now read some of their comments:

These are comments about the service customers sent to Harry Mottram by email about their dealings with Neill Malcolm Stuart John. It gives a flavour of the anger felt by many of his customers.

 

Stuart agreed to issue a partial refund, but this never materialised despite repeated assurances. I eventually gave up on writing letters, emailing and phoning to chase up our agreed refund.

Then a number of critical deadlines were missed without apology. Stuart and the staff were rude when we chased for delivery and instead of customer service he tried intimidation by telling us to talk to his lawyers.

I ended up having a book launch without a single copy of my book being available despite there being several weeks between initial discussions (Aug 16) the order being placed (I paid in full Sept 16) and when it was originally expected (End Sept 16 for the book launch 10 Oct 16). I was horribly embarrassed.

He is a liar, a cheat and a conman and very abusive when challenged.

He kept inviting us to take legal action against him. Obviously knowing nothing would come of it as he is a seasoned conman !!! We paid for something we didn’t get and the issue was never rectified.

I paid upfront for an order of books which we planned to sell to raise money for the NSPCC, my chosen charity during my year as Ladies ‘ Captain at my golf club. I hoped to receive the books before Christmas so that they could be used as presents. The books did not arrive and, initially, Stuart offered to refund me half the cost, that never happened. He then became quite unpleasant.

This man is liar and a cheat, we were very not happy at all and now stuck with a publication of 500 hardcover books that were not delivered in time and we missed our opportunity for sell these and he has been using our name as ref to clients.

The first deadline for delivery was missed. After speaking to him on the phone he was becoming more and more evasive, he then told me the books had been printed in Belgium and were on their way but were taking their time. There followed several telephone conversations and an increasing amount of unlikely excuses.

The author of the book then spent many hours on the internet and finally found out his real name which led us to realise we had been scammed after reading the multiple posts about this guys previous activities.

Obviously no books have ever been delivered and despite him promising to waive his ridiculous terms and conditions and promising to repay the money he is yet to do so. He still emails me from time to time which I ignore.

He was sent registered letters to all of his addresses in mid-December giving him 14 days to complete the order or repay the money, obviously neither of these things have happened.

A claim via the small claims court was issued earlier this month which he is contesting, his defence is that he was only an employee and not responsible for the companies actions.

Yes I have been defrauded and then fobbed off.

I find it simply incredible that no national newspaper has picked up on this outrage and scandal… …when there is a real live conman running around repeatedly defrauding vulnerable people.

It would be interesting to understand quite how much money he has actually stolen. It’s nonsensical and an absolute disgrace. It just makes an entire mockery of the justice system.

Yes this man took me for £750 under the Houseprint name.

Paid £2080. He has refunded me £510. I have countless emails saying that he will pay me in full by ex date and of course nothing happens.

I believe that something should be done. This surely is FRAUD. A Czech printing firm was owed > £30,000. It’s such a shame. Also know a printer in Hungary who lost a lot of money. Think the police should be involved. Surely, this is no different from investment scams that the perpetrators go to prison for?

This man will carry on until he dies.  One widow tells me that her small printer husband committed suicide over £35,000 in owed printing, and many European printers are owed 100,000 euros.

It’s absolutely NOT TRUE that I was happy with their service. It was a nightmare as I thought i had lost all the money i paid them with no sight of the books i ordered to print. They kept making up stories after stories and eventually stopped taking my calls.

I wouldn’t recommend his or his company if they were the last printers on earth.

We have NEVER been happy with work. It has been a complete disaster and our Solicitor is on the case.

Are you joking! Happy with them! They ruined my business!

I would not recommend them to anyone and I am taking legal proceedings against them.

I’m a seething victim of this lying con man. I gave him an order for 300 copies of my book October and he had me believe, with occasional vague updates, that there was production work ever ongoing. Only two weeks ago he said the books would arrive ‘the day after tomorrow’ and thanked me for having ‘the patience of a saint’. Of course no books arrived and Mal (or Andy: same person?) then suddenly sent a sheet of quasi-legal drivel cancelling the order and offering me a refund. This was then said to be ‘processing’ last week but (surprise, surprise) didn’t arrive; though l got another ‘legal’ letter today saying that a new partnership had been established which would return fluidity to the operation, and therefore my order could be revived. This thing is quite beyond farce and l think l’ll just have to give up on my £300 deposit.

 

Ends

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2018 01 Print Monthly story print farmer

HARRY MOTTRAM FREELANCE JOURNALIST: notorious print industry businessman made a ‘series of spurious counter claims’ during firm’s shock liquidation

As the fall-out from the collapse of Carillion continues with creditors waiting in vain for payment, spare a thought for a long list of printers, graphic designers, publishers, print finishers and members of the public who haven’t been paid from the HousePrint debacle.
Harry Mottram investigates
The company was run by the notorious print farmer Neill Malcolm Stuart John of Barry in Wales, and went to wall in 2016. No one was paid as the liquidators found there to be no assets. However there was something odd on the balance sheet presented at the liquidation. House Print (trading as The Printing House) claimed to be owed £585,385.28 whilst owing £288,379. These figures have since been adjusted very slightly, but the difference is astonishing as any administrator worth their salt would quite possibly have been able to save the firm or at least see it trade out of its difficulties.

Print Monthly understands from a source at the heart of the case that the £585,385.28 was likely to be “a series of spurious counter claims.” This publication contacted some of those on the list of debtors asking if they owed the amounts mentioned in the report, and they all replied they were owed money and not the other way around… The full story is here along with other stories on the couple – search for Print Farmer on the site: http://www.printmonthly.co.uk/News/Industry/6334/print-farmers-series-of-counter-claims

mNeill 567 Business joint photo

Neill Malcolm Stuart John and his partner have been called the Bonny and Clyde of the print industry by victims

More at http://www.harrymottram.co.uk

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HARRY MOTTRAM FREELANCE JOURNALIST: How pre-packs got a bad name in a climate of phoenix firms and Carillion type collapses as struggling companies use emotional blackmail on their suppliers to extend credit

The word of the year in the world of print and paper has been “pre-pack.” Initially welcomed by the industry as a method to salvage insolvent companies, giving them time to live again under a new name and retaining their workforce, pre-pack deals have become tainted.

Pre-packs began life in 2002 under the Enterprise Act, to allow for the sale of an insolvent firm’s business and assets before the company goes into administration. Its main advantage is to retain all or some of the workforce, and essentially keep the business afloat and prevent the company from disappearing. However, the downside is unsecured creditors may not get paid and it can leave a bad taste among suppliers and customers, who are left high and dry. They may not wish to deal with the new company having been stung once, especially if those running the new company are more or less the same as before, and worse still, appear not to have changed their business model to prevent the business collapsing again. Read the full story and other printing industry stories at http://www.printmonthly.co.uk/Specials/Industry/6228/phoenix-firms-pre-packs-and and more freelance info from Harry at http://www.harrymottram.co.uk/?page_id=1956 —————————————————

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HARRY MOTTRAM FREELANCE JOURNALIST: Amidst the winter of the Carillion collapse – published: print industry firms who have gone to the wall

As the fall-out continues from Carillian’s collapse, a political and economic crisis is developing. Already it is changing the nation’s conversation over the ethics of giving massive infrastructure contracts to companies who don’t pay their sub-contractors on time.

With the back drop to stories of unpaid invoices and stories of the defunct construction company not paying their bills for more than four months, ICSM has released a list of printing industry firms who hit the rocks this winter. Read the full story and other printing industry stories at hhttp://www.printmonthly.co.uk/News/Industry/6300/published-list-of-printers and more freelance info from Harry at http://www.harrymottram.co.uk/?page_id=1956

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HARRY MOTTRAM FREELANCE JOURNALIST: Trinity Mirror circulation woes and the Guardian goes tabloid – latest issues for the newspaper industry in Print Monthly

Going tabloid will save The Guardian ‘millions’ according to the national newspaper’s editor Katherine Viner, who told Radio 4’s Today listeners it was a new era for the paper. Millions that is, in terms of printing, paper and workers. The Press Gazette reported that around 250 people were made redundant last year from the newspaper group.

The editor was backed up by The Guardian’s CEO David Pemsel who says it will be a saving of ‘several million pounds.’ Pemsel comments: “The media sector remains challenging. However, our reader revenues are growing well, and more people are reading us than ever before – we now reach over 150 million unique browsers each month and we have over 800,000 supporters.
Read the full story and other printing industry stories at http://www.printmonthly.co.uk/News/Industry/6296/the-guardian-goes-tabloid and more freelance info from Harry at http://www.harrymottram.co.uk/?page_id=1956

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HARRY MOTTRAM FREELANCE JOURNALIST: doubts over Carillion’s so called ‘early payment scheme’

The construction giant Carillion has gone into liquidation leaving doubts over more than 20,000 jobs in the UK and real concerns for their suppliers that includes print firms, stationers and sign-makers. Although many in industry believe most of the firm will be saved through being re-floated, refinanced, nationalised or bought out in some form of rescue plan there are concerns over whether the thousands of suppliers, self-employed workers and sub-contractors will get paid. For the full story visit: http://www.printmonthly.co.uk/News/Industry/6292/doubts-over-carillions-early-payment-scheme