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‘Weak’ print advertising market coupled with newsprint cost hike means no pay rise for Evening Standard and Independent staff

By Freddy Mayhew

Independent and Evening Standard journalists will not receive a pay rise this year due to the “weak” print advertising market, staff have been told.

An email to employees at ESI Media, owner of the two daily titles, revealed that a year-on-year decline of between 15 and 20 per cent had been forecast for print advertising next year.

In the message from Manish Malhotra, interim group managing director, staff were also told the cost of newsprint was also set to increase by more than 15 per cent within six months.

Malhotra said: “The last few months have seen the print advertising market weaken considerably and we have witnessed a shift away from print in the UK advertising market.

“The effect of this shift on our industry has been compounded by the political and economic uncertainty inspired by the EU referendum.”

The Independent became a digital-only title in April while the Evening Standard has an average total print circulation of 915,660 free copies, according to the latest ABC figures.

Added Malhotra: “As you’ll appreciate, the impact of these factors on the London Evening Standard in particular will be substantial – but also for the advertising-dependent Independent and London Live businesses.

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“It is in that context that the Board has decided that the Group will not be in a position to award a general pay increase to staff on 1 October.”

Former Independent title the i newspaper has blamed Brexit for the rise in newsprint costs, owing to the fall in the pound’s value, with the Johnston Press title citing it as the reason for a 10p cover price hike.

The UK inflation rate, as measured by the Consumer Prices Index (CPI), was 0.6 per cent in the year to August.

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