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Culture Minister Ed Vaizey Puts Greeting Cards On His Agenda

As reported in our official magazine Progressive Greetings' eBuzz, the UK’s Culture Minister Ed Vaizey has pledged to support the UK greeting card industry. “What can I do to help?” he said in a meeting today (Wednesday December 2), held in Westminster. Ideas included lowering the rate of VAT on greeting cards, a greeting card exhibition in the Houses of Parliament, government backing for export as well as an initiative to celebrate the Queen’s 90th birthday in 2016.

Ged Mace, president of the GCA (and managing director of The Art File), Sharon Little, CEO of the GCA, PG’s Jakki Brown (who is also joint general secretary of the GCA) and greeting card publisher Eloise Hall, founder of the eponymous card company (and friend of Ed Vaizey’s) met with the Minister in his personal office.

Commenting on the significance of the meeting, Ged Mace said: “From an industry perspective, it was a wonderful opportunity to put greeting cards on the ministerial map. If any of the ideas we discussed come to fruition it will be of great benefit to the UK greeting card industry.”

The purpose of the meeting, from the GCA’s perspective was to raise the profile of the UK greeting card industry as one of the nation’s successful creative industries, and to explain the cultural importance of greeting card sending.

In what was a case of perfect timing, Ed Vaizey admitted that he had “just written 400 Christmas cards”, and was rather “resentful” of the time it had taken. But when shown an original Henry Cole Christmas card, from 1843 (owned by PG’s Jakki Brown), to illustrate the heritage of the industry he became enthused and suggested that the card could form the centerpiece of a greeting card exhibition in the Houses of Parliament next year.

As the GCA’s Sharon Little stated following the meeting: “I felt really proud to be able to share the size and scope of our industry with someone at such a high level of government. He was genuinely interested to learn about the industry, was full of suggestions and open to ideas, such as speaking at the GCA AGM, visiting PG Live and a competition to design and produce his Christmas card next year.”

The Minister was delighted to receive his own keepsake box and giftbags which were filled with over 200 greeting cards from almost 90 GCA members.

Above from left to right: Eloise Hall, Jakki Brown, Ed Vaisey (with Henry Cole's 1843 Christmas card), Ged Mace and Sharon Little

Above from left to right, Sharon Little, Ged Mace and Jakki Brown with over 200 cards sent in by GCA members for Ed Vaizey.