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MP Bob Russell favours visit to Rose Calendars over meeting US president

Colchester MP Bob Russell is no stranger to local businesses and visited the Colchester based calendar printers Rose Calendars this week. The visit, during which Bob was accompanied by the outgoing chief executive of the BPIF (British Print Industry Federation), Michael Johnson, and the BPIF’s current Eastern Regional Director, Marcus Clifford, was primarily aimed at obtaining the views of a local printing business. Rose Calendars’ MD, Michael Rose, and Chairman, Chris Rose, discussed the current market situation and the impact recently introduced import taxes for Chinese paper have had on UK based businesses.

On a day when Bob Russell had the opportunity to meet US president Barack Obama in the House of Commons, he replied when reminded he should be leaving for Westminster shortly "I’d much rather spend time with Rose of Colchester as they have been an integral part of the local business community for over a hundred years.” A remark that Michael and Chris Rose were only too happy to hear, of course, and one that shows how committed Bob Russell is to supporting his constituency.

Another topic of conversation – and a subject close to Rose Calendars’ heart – was the government’s plans to possibly move the May Day Bank Holiday to a different time in the year, prompted by the recent launch of the Tourism Strategy. The outcome, with the project currently only at pre-consultation stage, will not be decided upon until later in the year, with a final announcement not due until the beginning of 2012, but implementation rumoured to be in place as early as 2013. "This”, explains Michael Rose "puts Rose Calendars in a position where the plans for the business may be severely delayed due to having produced stock that includes incorrect dates on our 2013 calendars, which would be very detrimental to the business. People don’t realise that our samples for the 2013 season need to be ready by the end of this year and quite a number of our customers order early, something that we generally welcome but that might well pose a problem with a potential shift of a Bank Holiday being announced so late.”

Bob Russell understood Michael Rose’s reasoning for an earlier announcement, or alternatively, later implementation, which will not just affect Rose Calendars but many calendar and diary manufacturers across the country. Michael Johnson, who during his decade of BPIF leadership has always been an advocate for process improvement and introduced lean manufacturing to the UK print industry, joined Bob Russell and said "An early announcement will be key to many UK printers. As industry leaders in Europe, we need to stay ahead of the game and any support from the House of Commons in helping us achieve this will be appreciated.”

Rose Calendars are keen to resolve this issue and would be very interested to hear from other local businesses with regards to their views. Will moving the May Day Bank Holiday affect your business? If so, what challenges do you face?

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