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Ten years on: memories of the 2008 crash

Ten years ago, the economy went splat.

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2008: the year the economy hit the rocks

Lehman Brothers Bank went bust in the USA, the Royal Bank of Scotland had to be rescued by UK Government and the economy took a nosedive, which some will argue has still yet to fully recover.

The printing, signage, graphics, paper, haulage and allied industries were all hit with a string of insolvencies and a liquidity squeeze not seen since the previous recession in the early 1990s.

It had all begun the year before in the United States of America, over the sale of bundles of sub-prime mortgages. Essentially, thousands of people were given mortgages which they could not pay even in the best of times. As the defaults rose, so did the panic levels at the lenders. In the UK, credit arrangements had been extended to a huge number of people and companies, which is fine during a bull market but once the banks started to call in loans things went awry very quickly.

The printing, signage, graphics, paper, haulage and allied industries were all hit with a string of insolvencies and a liquidity squeeze not seen since the previous recession in the early 1990s

The previous year the rumblings were already manifesting themselves with problems at Northern Rock, prompting a run on a British bank for the first time in a generation. Those with long memories may recall the banking crisis and stock market crash of 1973-74 but the 2008 crash was on a global scale and it hit British manufacturing.

Ian Carrott of ICSM recalls the casualties like a slow-motion train crash, firm after firm hit came off the rails. He says: “I remember there were lots of consolidations and cuts like Newsquest in Newport and Polestar Greaves shedding hundreds of jobs. Nevisprint in Scotland went out of business and there was a lot of union trouble at Butler and Tanner, although I think it was Felix Dennis who eventually stepped in to help with an acquisition. Buckleys Print and Packaging was another casualty, as was Cooper Clegg and the Alden Hendi Group. Honestly, it was a pretty bleak time and in continued in the following year and didn’t really end for a couple more years.”

By 2010 the economy had changed for good. The internet had begun eating away at print circulations, the Chinese were flooding the High Street with cheaper goods and wages stalled. Austerity became the name of the game in the UK and commercial print has not been the same since. Ten years on many in business continue to say ‘things ain’t what they used to be.’

Do you remember the crash of 2008? How did it change your life? Email your memories to Harry - Harry@linkpublishing.co.uk or call me on 0117 9805 040. Or react to the story on Twitter and have your say.


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