On Saturday 7th November, the board of Ringing World Ltd signed the company's suicide note in the form of a budget for 2021.
The board's plan for 2021 is to increase print subscriptions by £15 and online-only by £10 – an increase of more than 17%. Yet the board seemingly expects the effect of this price hike will only be a 1.2% overall reduction in circulation, if print and online subscriptions are both included. Over the last five years, overall circulation has dropped by 1.6% a year on average. During the same period, annual increases in subscription rates have averaged £3.60 – and have never exceeded £4.
A large increase in subscription rates of more than the last four annual increases combined may or may not be a sensible idea in these difficult times, but the board evidently believe that they can do this and still see a below-average reduction in circulation. Moreover, the increased rate will not be for the current product, as apparently issues will now all be 20 pages instead of the usual 24.
We might ask whether the board have taken leave of their senses, but the answer to this is already clear from their response to my resignation statement. This statement contains multiple falsehoods and blatant misrepresentations of the facts.
If the board think that they can brush off my legitimate concerns with such a transparent pack of lies, it shows just how desperate and out of touch with reality they have become.
If the board will not retract this statement, then more board members need to follow David Smith's lead in disavowing the board's statement. Admittedly it's easier in his case as he never saw the final statement, which the others presumably did. As David says, when the board knowingly makes a false statement in an attempt to justify their position, they are potentially breaking the law, and any board member who cares one iota about his or her reputation must surely want to disassociate themselves from this perhaps criminal action. To date no others have.
I have therefore decided to cut all involvement with The Ringing World with immediate effect until there has been major change to the board. I will no longer serve as Digital Consultant, and I will no longer make any updates or bug fixes to BellBoard. I'm aware and regret that this will cause major disruption, but I see no other option when faced with a board incapable of facing reality and fulfilling their legal obligations.
Richard A Smith
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