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22 April 2016

Weekly Brief 16 – Friday 22 April 2016

New 'Women in Enterprise' report launched
FSB launched a new report this week called 'Women in Enterprise: The Untapped Potential'. The report explores the specific challenges faced by women-led businesses and makes recommendations for improving support, developing mentoring networks, and increasing the diversity of business ambassadors. A new FSB Women in Enterprise Taskforce was also announced as a means to tackle these issues. If you're a member and would like to be involved with the taskforce, email the press office for more information.

Unemployment figures reflect faltering business confidence
Job statistics released by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) on Wednesday showed increasing levels of unemployment for the first time in a year. Wage growth has also slowed and FSB is warning this could be a sign businesses are trying to limit the impact of a challenging policy environment that includes the National Living Wage and pension auto-enrolment. FSB advised ministers to take note of this warning now, and take further actions to ease the burdens on small businesses. This gained coverage on the front page of City AM, the Daily Mail, and The Times Scotland.

Floods receded but small firms still struggling
Following on from the floods at the end of last year, FSB has been emphasising that small businesses affected are still struggling with the aftermath. Flood RE has now been set up for domestic properties and FSB spoke to The Guardian about the need for a similar scheme for small businesses.

Export Week a big success
To mark Export Week FSB took part in the Guardian Small Business Network's live web chat. FSB Policy Advisor for Export, Charlotte Chung, discussed how small businesses can prepare to export and took part in a live Q&A. You can catch up on most of the discussion online.

Take part in the FSB small business confidence survey
The second quarterly Small Business Index survey is now live on the Big Voice community. If you're a member, sign up to the community for free and have your say. This survey gives us an indication as to how small businesses are feeling on all kinds of business issues and we urge members to take part so that we can get a better understanding. You can join here.

Parliamentary update
During Treasury questions David Rutley MP mentioned FSB's position on Corporation Tax, saying 'the Federation of Small Businesses has said that the decision to further lower Corporation Tax to 17 per cent is an important statement of intent and will provide a boost for the affected firms.'

In answer to a written question by Rachel Maskell MP, Shadow Defence Minister, on flood insurance for small businesses, Rory Stewart, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, wrote "Ministers have recently held meetings with representatives from the Association of British Insurers (ABI), Federation of Small Businesses and the British Insurance Brokers Association (BIBA) among others to discuss these issues."

Is your rural business affected by poor transport options?
FSB is currently investigating the challenges facing rural communities caused by poor roads or public transport.  If your business has been affected by these issues, please contact the Infrastructure Policy Advisor Will Black.

Greener journeys with freight operators
As part of its Freight Carbon Review, the Department for Transport would like to talk to freight operators about their experience in reducing carbon emissions. Specifically the Department would like to understand the barriers holding businesses back from reducing their carbon emissions. If you would like to discuss this confidentially, please contact Will Black.

Join Big Voice and get your business heard
Big Voice is FSB's unique, online research community and it's free for members to join. By commenting or responding to one of FSB's surveys, members give us the evidence we need to take to politicians at all levels, across the UK and in Brussels on the topics that really matter to them. This evidence is used to support FSB lobbying and help shape the laws affecting small businesses. Join for free and start making sure your voice is heard.