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10 November 2017

Weekly Brief 46 – Friday 10 November 2017

A wrap of the week’s small business news from FSB’s Westminster Press, Policy and Public Affairs Office. To sign-up for Weekly Brief emails, please use this link.  
 
New terrorism report urges law change to help small firms be resilient   
A new report from FSB released this week has urged the Government to change the law to help local economies protect themselves in the face of today's rapidly evolving terror threat. The report, Small business as usual - strengthening resilience against 21st century terrorism, calls on the Government to release the UK terror cover safety net, Pool Re, from outdated law that prevents firms insuring themselves against 'non-damage business disruption' in the wake of a terror attack. Current rules do not cover loss of trade, or other impacts of modern terrorism. Read more.

Revealed: 'Staggering contribution' of small businesses to UK economy 
New figures from the Office for National Statistics showed that the contribution of non-financial businesses to the UK economy grew to £1.2 trillion in the year to 2016- with the majority (99.6%) of the firms being small businesses. National Chairman Mike Cherry said the figures serve as a timely reminder that the success of the UK economy depends on small firms

VAT review must put simplification front and centre
Following the publication of the Office of Tax Simplification's -Value Added Tax (VAT): Routes to Simplification' report, Mike Cherry said a review of the "vastly complex VAT system is long overdue". "Small business owners spend a huge number of hours a year complying with their VAT obligations - hours that should be spent running their firms," he added.

Trade bill can create new opportunities for small businesses
New and ambitious global trade deals that benefit smaller businesses will, in due course, be one of the major Brexit opportunities, said Mike Cherry. Following the publication of the Government's Trade and Customs bills this week, he added it is now critical that businesses are given a firm commitment to a time-limited transition period post-Brexit. 
September's UK trade statistics were also released this week, showing the total trade deficit widened by £3billion to £9.5billion- although the gap has narrowed since the previous month.

Have you taken steps to protect your intellectual property? 
FSB is hosting a roundtable with the Chartered Institute of Patent Attorneys on how small businesses can maximise their Intellectual Property (IP). The roundtable will bring together small firms, IP professionals and policymakers to discuss how Government can raise awareness of IP in the small business community and how to ensure small firms are able to protect the IP they hold. The roundtable will take place on Tuesday 21 November in London. If you would like to attend email Public Affairs Advisor Jessica Smith.              

Innovate UK announces new loans
Small businesses working on infrastructure systems projects can now apply for a share of £10 million in an Innovate UK pilot loans competition. The competition aims to help businesses overcome barriers to scaling up innovation in infrastructure systems. The deadline for registration is 10 January 2018.

Broadband compensation scheme
Ofcom has announced plans for people to be automatically compensated by broadband and landline providers for slow repairs, missed appointments and delayed installations. Ofcom says that as a result, BT, Sky, TalkTalk, Virgin Media and Zen Internet have agreed to introduce the compensation system. Read more about compensation scheme here.

Test out new digital hub 
British Business Bank (BBB) is running a survey to find small business owners to test out the development of new digital hub for scale-up companies. The hub will provide information to help SMEs choose the finance options best suited to them. The survey takes around three minutes to complete. Visit the website for more details.

Confidence survey- check your inbox now
Our latest quarterly survey on small business confidence is now live. If you're a member of Big Voice, check your email to take part. Otherwise you can sign up to Big Voice here. FSB uses the Small Business Index to make the case directly to leading politicians and other policymakers about what small businesses need.