Bank Holiday change will ‘cost calendar maker £200,000’

May 2020 page with 4th ringed in red
Image caption “Bad May” written across one of the May 2020 pages to be replaced

Changing the date of next year’s early May bank holiday will cost one calendar maker about £200,000, it has said.

Last week, the government announced the bank holiday, set for Monday 4 May, would be switched to Friday 8 May, to mark the 75th anniversary of VE Day.

Allan & Bertram said as a result about 400,000 of its calendars which had already been printed would have to have the May 2020 pages replaced.

The government said it had considered the practical implications of its move.

But the manager of one calendar maker said it had “probably been the single most stressful week that I have ever faced in business”.

“We’re totally in agreement with changing the date. Just not changing it with 11 months notice, when you’ve had 74 years to prepare for this event,” said Andrew Bennett, managing director of Hertfordshire-based Allan & Bertram.

It is only the second time the early May bank holiday has been moved – the first was in 1995 to mark the 50th anniversary of VE Day.

On that occasion people were given more notice, said Mr Bennett. “They announced that in December 1993. That was absolutely fine.

“There was no reason why this decision couldn’t have been made 18 months ago.”

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Media captionAndrew Bennett, managing director of calendar maker Allan & Bertram

As well as employing extra temporary staff, the team would be working double shifts to make the necessary changes, Mr Bennett said. While the calendars were originally assembled by a machine, the process of swapping the individual pages for updated ones will have to be done manually.

Despite the cost, he said sending them out with the wrong date would have been too damaging for the company’s brand.

“Our clients expect the product to be right. The easy thing to do would have been to do nothing, or put a sticker on it, but if you want to focus on quality, you have to correct the problem.”

The British Printing Industry Federation, which represents about 1,300 printing businesses, said while it welcomed the commemoration of VE day, it too believed the government should have consulted with groups that would be affected by the change.

“A number of members will lose money due to calendars and diaries for 2020 being printed already,” said managing director Dale Wallis.

“It is my understanding that there is no opportunity for compensation. This could cause serious cash flow issues, and therefore other issues for those businesses affected.”

Image caption 400,000 calendars which have already been printed are waiting to be changed

A spokesperson for the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy said it had “considered the practical implications of moving this bank holiday”.

Allan & Bertram’s Andrew Bennett said the government should acknowledge the impact of the timing of the decision on businesses like his – and offer compensation for costs they will incur.

“As a business, we will survive. But it’s not just the money – it’s the pressure on production that will now make this year incredibly hard.”

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