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26 August 2016

Weekly Brief 34 – Friday 26 August 2016

 A wrap of the week’s small business news from FSB’s London Press, Policy and Public Affairs Office. To sign-up for Weekly Brief emails, please use this link  

Unfair contracts costing billions
FSB has published new research suggesting half of small firms have been hit by unfair contract terms, costing around £4 billion in the past three years. Some of the biggest problems included suppliers failing to make auto-rollover clauses clear up front and tying businesses into lengthy notice periods. Two in five respondents said they felt powerless to do anything about unfair terms because the supplier was too important or powerful to challenge. FSB is calling for better protections for small businesses, as they can be just as vulnerable as consumers when buying goods and services. This gained coverage in Sunday Times, The Sun, City AM, Sky News, The Times, The Guardian

Have your say on Brexit
FSB is hosting a discussion on our Big Voice Community, to hear directly from members about what opportunities and concerns have arisen in your businesses following the EU referendum result. Join for free and have your say on how the result might affect you. We’ll use that information to make the case direct to the politicians managing Brexit, so they know what small businesses need.

Small Biz 100 launched
FSB is thrilled our members make up one fifth of this year’s impressive Small Biz 100 list, as part of the 2016 Small Business Saturday campaign. That means 21 FSB members will be highlighted during the 100 days leading up to Small Business Saturday, which this year falls on 3 December. Now in its fourth year, the campaign is hoping to build on its 2015 success, where more than £600 million was spent with small businesses on the day itself.

Summer jobs slide
FSB Policy Director Martin McTague joined a BBC Radio 5 Live discussion on Tuesday about the decline of young people working summer jobs. It followed a report released by The Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) showing the number of 16 to 17 year olds in full-time education working in the summer has almost halved over the last two decades.

New measures to support tourism
The Government has published a Tourism Action Plan setting out different measures to support the UK’s tourism sector. This includes regulatory changes to allow B&Bs to serve some alcohol, a flexible apprentice scheme for seasonal workers and a new set of rail ticket options to encourage tourists to travel around the country. The first grants from the £40 million Discover England Fund have also been announced.

Small business trade priorities
The Government is planning to hold joint economic and trade meetings with Brazil, India, Kazakhstan, South Korea, Taiwan and Vietnam by the end of 2016. Prior to the start of these meetings the Department for International Trade wants to hear from UK businesses about their trade priorities in these seven markets. This could include your greatest concerns about doing business in and with these countries, how your concerns might be addressed and what DIT could do to encourage you to think about exporting to these markets. The survey should be completed by 7th September 2016.

Technology healthcare funding
This week sees the launch of the Horizontal Innovation Programme. The search is on for small firms who have a technology that could be adapted and commercialised to solve a real-life healthcare issue. The programme has been launched by the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) and the Manufacturing Technology Centre (MTC). It will offer on small business support worth up to £35,000 to enable its innovation or product to be commercialised to help solve some of the current NHS challenges. Entries must be submitted by 30 September 2016.

Want £3,000 to help you export?
The Open to Export Action Plan competition is a chance to win £3000 to help get your business exporting. If selected as a finalist, you would have the opportunity to gain publicity for your business by pitching your export plans to a panel of judges at Going Global Live on 17 November 2016. The deadline to apply is Friday 14 October. For more information on how apply visit the Open to Export Website.

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.