Whatever your business, the FSB will work for you.
Environment and Rural Affairs
Small firms cannot shoulder yet more energy price rises - FSB News
Online sales figures plummeted to its lowest level for five years. With many small firms looking to grow online, but suffering from unreliable and slow broadband, the FSB has called for
98 per cent of the countryside to have superfast broadband. Find out more about broadband
Planning delays ruin business growth - FSB News
Green DealThe issue
The Green Deal is the Government's flagship energy efficiency initiative. It works by a 'provider' carrying out energy efficiency improvements with no upfront payment for the business or household. The cost of carrying out
Read More the work is repaid through energy bills under a golden rule: the bills will never be higher than they were. We are supportive of the Green Deal, however, we do have some serious concerns as to how scheme will work in the non-domestic sector and that small firms may not be able to access new opportunities.
What we have done
We called for a 'pay as you save' energy efficiency mechanism to help hard pressed small businesses cope with the cost of making their premises energy efficient. Following our lobbying, 'pay as you save' has been the key mechanism behind the Government's Green Deal.
One key element is missing from the Green Deal: a guarantee that small firms will have the same access to this work as large firms, such as the 'big six' energy suppliers. Small business involvement is essential for low carbon skills and knowledge to spread across the whole economy and to allow small firms to reap the rewards of a low carbon economy.
The Government is taking steps to reform the water industry and for the first time smaller businesses are going to be able to choose who supplies their water. Proposals suggest that small firms will have a greater
Read More choice of supplier with cost efficiencies for customers who procure for a number of business premises or sites. The proposals should make it easier for suppliers to enter the market and drive better customer service for business.
What we have done
We are supportive of the changes, but are campaigning to ensure Government learns the lessons from the electricity and gas markets to guarantee there is a genuinely competitive water market following the reforms.
The FSB believes the key objectives of any reform of the water sector should be to secure the necessary capital infrastructure investment in the water sector and develop cost efficiency gains that lead to lower prices for business consumers and an improvement in customer service.
Small businesses find it particularly hard to comply with their waste management responsibilities. It is extremely difficult for them to access suitable waste and recycling services due to many local authorities not offering
Read more business waste and recycling services, or due to the small volumes of waste they produce, not being able to attract the services of private companies.
What we have done
The FSB achieved a number of victories when the Government announced the findings of its Review of Waste policy in 2011 including the disbandment of the Landfill Trading scheme and getting central government to encourage local authorities to open Household Waste and Recycling Centres to small businesses.
How businesses handle, transport and dispose of waste is subject to a plethora of domestic and EU regulations. While it is right to regulate how businesses handle their waste, small firms often deal in very small volumes, similar to domestic household volumes. The associated red tape for these small volumes bears no relation to its potential environmental risk so there needs to be a risk based approach of small business waste regulation.
Climate changeThe issue
The need to cut carbon emissions and the predicted dramatic increases in the cost of energy over the coming decade, means that the move to a low carbon economy has become an economic imperative for the UK. While
Read more these twin threats bring challenges for our economy they also bring opportunities that can allow our 4.8 million small businesses to contribute to a greener economy, enjoying lower energy costs and benefiting from new opportunities in a low carbon economy.
What we have done
We have lobbied for the introduction of policies that work with small businesses and help them to go green rather than one size fits all regulation and legislation that places a large amount of administrative burden on them. The lack of upfront capital is a serious constraint on putting in place energy efficiency measures and we have been instrumental in getting 'pay as you save' schemes in place.
We want to see a mixture of short, medium and long term measures to encourage small businesses to become green fingered. We need to see short-term measures to encourage small businesses to go green. We need to see short-term financial incentives such as installing more energy efficient equipment and the use of medium term measures to maximise the potential of smart metering and micro-generation technology, as well as longer term targeted support that addresses the structural and financial barriers that stop small businesses from greening their buildings.
Revitalising our rural economyThe issue
Our research shows that six in 10 (63%) small, rural firms are suffering with the speed of their broadband. Those living and working in rural areas across England face a greater challenge getting from A to B than their
Read more urban counterparts. People living in the countryside travel 45 per cent further in England than those based in urban areas. Yet six in 10 small firms said the state of the road network adversely affected their business. This blocks the growth of countryside businesses.
We are calling on the Government to put 20Mbps broadband in place to 98 per cent of the countryside. We need to close the digital divide between rural and urban businesses and give countryside businesses in England better access to markets. Businesses also need to be able to move quickly and easily to their suppliers and customers, without unnecessary cost, be that through time or money. That is why we are calling for a commitment to more investment, maintenance and upgrading of UK roads.