The GCA has joined forces with other trade associations and relevant bodies to lobby government and the banking community so that the real concerns, worries and issues greeting card publishers, retailers and trade suppliers are facing during these stricken times will not only be heard but some solutions delivered.
Yesterday (April 6) Amanda Fergusson, ceo of the GCA attended a high powered (virtual) meeting convened by the IRC (Independent Retailers Confederation) which brought together 16 top executives of other complementary trade associations, including those from the Booksellers Association, NFRN (National Federation of Retail Newsagents), Craft Bakers, Act Smart, National Craft Butchers, Fine Foods Association among others. Bira (British Independent Retailer Association) is also an active member of the group.
“Historically we have held quarterly meetings, but acutely aware of the need to make our collective voice heard loud and clear at such a worrying time for our members, we have stepped up the frequency of our meetings to fortnightly,” Amanda told PG Buzz. Amanda, who had canvassed all GCA members prior to the meeting was able to contribute pressing issues faced by greeting card publishers, retailers and suppliers. “While the Government has acted swiftly to put a number of provisions in place for SMEs, in many instances our members are falling between the various schemes,” she said.
Having canvassed members prior to the recent meeting Amanda was able to air a number of key issues, the majority of which were echoed by the members of other associations in the group. “These included concerns about what directors can do connected to their business if they furlough themselves. Treasury advice previously has been they can only do statutory duties. We’re saying that’s not helpful – there’s no income coming in so as long as it’s not generating revenue they should be able to work on their business e.g. keep in contact with customers, work on their finances, marketing plans etc.
In addition is the issue of lack of support for small businesses who, despite business support schemes, personally have no support via the current schemes,” said Amanda.
Amanda also highlighted how Business Interruption Insurance has also been an issue for GCA members reflected in members’ participation in the IRC survey on this matter. (To participate, click here). The results of the survey will be used to call upon Government and insurance brokers to challenge policies where there is ambiguity.
As previously announced on PG Buzz, the issue of access to funding and the personal guarantees being called for via the Business Interruption Loan Scheme days https://www.pgbuzz.net/gca-joins-with-bira-in-welcoming-govt-pledge-to-ease-up-lending-to-smes/has been a major concern to GCA members. While thankfully the Government has responded positively to this in the last few days, as Amanda says “so many publishers are still waiting to hear whether they can access these funds as cashflow is, not surprisingly drying up.” Her participation in The Genesis Initiative, the business senate for enterprise, on the GCA’s behalf is another route by which to feedback members’ concerns to the Government as well as the banking sector.
“I feel it is really important that the GCA, as well as being there for our specific industry needs, is also part of a larger voice, achieved through working with the IRC and The Genesis Institute. The next IRC meeting is in a fortnight’s time, and I will be contacting members asking them to let me know by Thursday 16 April of any issues they would like me to raise,” she adds.
Top: Those in the corridors of power have been alerted to issues that are causing worry to those in the card trade.