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06 May 2016

Weekly Brief 18 – Friday 06 May 2016

Small Business Commissioner must be priority
The Enterprise Bill received Royal Assent this week and FSB called on Government to now focus on appointing the Small Business Commissioner. The Commissioner will be key to finally tackling poor payment practices head on. To do this, they must have the confidence and respect of the entire business community and the strength to take on large businesses where necessary. We want to see a timetable so that businesses are clear on when the Commissioner will be in post.

FSB launches EU Referendum podcast series
Small business owners will be a crucial swing group in the EU referendum with 42 per cent of members saying their vote could still be swayed. It’s vital that Britain Stronger in Europe and Vote Leave provide the answers small firms need before 23 June. To ensure this happens, FSB invited representatives from both campaigns to participate in a series of FSB EU referendum podcasts. Each podcast focused on a devolved nation and grouped England into three areas, addressing specific issues and concerns our members felt. Our first podcast will go live Monday 9 May with Lucy Thomas from Britain Stronger in Europe and John Longworth from Vote Leave looking at member questions from the North Midlands. More detail on the schedule of the podcasts is available here

Election fever on ‘Super Thursday’

The UK’s small business owners went to the polls yesterday to vote in major elections in London, Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland, as well as local elections in England and Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) elections. FSB members have engaged with thousands of candidates from all major parties in every nation, region and branch up and down the UK, challenging them to put ‘I back small business’ at the heart of their campaign. We look forward to working with those elected moving forwards in an exciting time of change.

FSB urges PCC winners to make tackling business crime a priority
Police and Crime Commissioners (PCCs) have been elected today in 33 regions across England and Wales. We now urge both those serving second terms and those newly appointed to the role to put tackling business crime at the heart of their local policing plans. Our manifesto ‘Tackling business crime: FSB manifesto’ is a good place for all PCCs to start. We would encourage PCCs to make contact with their local business community through the FSB and work towards forging a better relationship between police and businesses once and for all.

Parliamentary update
FSB was mentioned by Lord Taylor Of Warwick in a question about small business taxation. FSB was also mentioned by Kit Malthouse MP (Con, North West Hampshire) and the Small Businesses Minister Anna Soubry during an exchange at BIS oral questions about quarterly reporting. FSB was mentioned in a Women and Equalities Committee session on pregnancy and maternity discrimination. FSB was also mentioned in a Lords discussion on exports

Last chance to tell us your views
The second quarterly Small Business Index survey is live for just two more days 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.

New pound not the same as the old pound
The introduction of the new £1 coin will be launched in March 2017 according to The Royal Mint. The new 12-sided £1 coin with rounded edges and corners is being minted now and will be introduced as legal currency next year. There will then be a six-month `co-circulation` period during which both old and new coins will be useable but in the Autumn of 2017 the old round pound coin will cease to be accepted. The Bank of England is encouraging all businesses – particularly those that rely heavily on cash payment – to begin planning for the transition as soon as possible.

Data protection – what you need to know
Subject access requests were responsible for 46 per cent of data protection complaints the ICO handled last year. This free webinar will help organisations to handle requests in line with the law. It will cover: Common causes for subject access related concerns being raised with us, what data controllers can require before responding to a request, guidance on ‘disproportionate effort’, handling requests featuring third party data, when not to provide data requested, and a description of our regulatory role in handling concerns from individuals.

New tool shows deficit in skills by area
IPPR and analytics firm Burning Glass Technologies have developed a new tool to tackle the mismatches that exist in many parts of the country between the skills needed by employers and those available in the local workforce. It is the first freely available tool of its kind in the UK and is intended to be used by national and local decision makers, education and training providers and employers to address critical issues. The tool is called ‘where the work is’ and you can find out more about itonline.

Entrepreneurs Exchange
Don’t miss out on a series of free events designed to help you grow your business. On one day only, 18 May, in 20 cities across the UK, at 6pm, over 40 of the nation’s leading business founders are coming together to give free, real business advice to the next generation of the UK’s entrepreneurs. Attendees will find out how established and successful entrepreneurs set up and grew their businesses, the challenges they have overcome to enable success, and the real advice they wish they had been given. Find out more about Entrepreneurs Exchange here and follow on twitter at #BritishEntrepreneurs

Flexible working
Have you introduced greater flexible working in your business in the past year? Did you need to change your business practices as a result? If so, and you’re happy to talk about your experiences, we would like to hear from you.

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.

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