Skip To The Main Content
11 November 2016

Weekly Brief 45 – Friday 11 November 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

RBS actions deeply concerning
FSB called for the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) to apologise and fully recompense small firms, following its announcement that it plans to set aside a £400 million fund to put right the activities of its Global Restructuring Group (GRG) between 2008 and 2013. FSB’s comments were covered by The Telegraph and Forbes.

RBS will begin writing to any SME customers that were in GRG during this period to let them know whether or not they are affected by this announcement. The GRG Customer Helpdesk is available to support customers. It can be contacted by email or by calling: 0800 0294 370. Further information on the New Complaints Review Process, the Automatic Refund for Complex Fees Charged to SME Customers, and RBS Restructuring can be found here.

New guidelines for bank branch closures
An independent review by Professor Russel Griggs has found banks could significantly improve the way they engage and communicate with their customers when closing branches. FSB called for banks to implement the recommendations of the Year on Review of the Access to Banking Protocol quickly and in full. This gained coverage in The Mirror and The Sun. On the same day, FSB’s #LoveYourBranch campaign hit social media with a Thunderclap, reaching 250,000 users.

Digital tax reporting reforms enter new phase
The Government has closed its consultation on plans to fully digitize taxation in the UK by 2020. FSB has warned about the costly implications for small businesses. We are calling for publication of a full impact assessment detailing the system’s costs and benefits, comprehensive user-testing, extended consultation and adequate time for HMRC to take on board required changes. The Guardian and Financial Times covered this story.

Survey: Access to labour and skills post-Brexit
FSB will be inviting you to take part in our survey looking at the UK’s future access to skills and labour, following Brexit. Whether you currently employ or have previously employed non-UK workers, or conduct projects or work in Europe, FSB needs your views. The findings will be used to influence Government and support small businesses to get the best deal possible post-Brexit. Please look out for an email from Martin McTague with a link directing you to the survey. For any queries, email Claire.

Women in Business – Facebook Live Chat
On November 15th as part of Global Entrepreneurship Week join four inspirational, real business women, learn how they addressed the issues of access to finance, work life balance and confidence. Take from them the business support ideas you need to start, grow or develop your business. Join the Facebook event here.

Parliamentary Update

During Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy questions in the House of Commons on Tuesday, Stephen Timms (East Ham, Lab) asked “according to the Federation of Small Businesses, of those small businesses that export, 82% export to other EU member states. What plan does the Minister have to support small businesses through Brexit?” Small Business Minister, Margot James replied that the UK is ranked highly on ease of doing business, which includes trade and exports, and the Government is doing all it can to retain that.

Top award for FSB Apprenticeships Chair
FSB Apprenticeships and Skills Chair Anthony Impey has been named IOEE Small Business Apprenticemaker of the year at the 2016 Celebrating Enterprise Awards. The award is given in recognition of an individual who has championed the apprenticeship model in their own enterprise and beyond. Anthony said he was overwhelmed to receive the award: “I hope this inspires others to recruit apprentices to drive the growth of their businesses while also having an impact on their local community.”

Small Business Saturday bus tour continues
The Small Business Saturday Bus Tour continues apace –more than half way through its month-long journey around the UK. This week, Mike Cherry caught up with the bus in Burton upon Trent. Watch this video from the event. With 11 stops to go, check the tour schedule to make sure you don’t miss out on a visit near you. Small Business Saturday falls on December 3 this year.

Does your business See Potential?
Business greats Sir Richard Branson, Deborah Meaden and Simon Cowell are driving the See Potential employment campaign, to help businesses fill skills gaps by becoming more open-minded about talent. You can join more than 100 employers enjoying the business benefits of broadening their talent streams, by hiring candidates from disadvantaged groups, like the long-term unemployed, ex-offenders, care leavers, homeless people, single parents, recovering addicts and military veterans. Join the #SeePotential conversation on Twitter; get inclusive employment tips on LinkedIn. And email to share your story.

Have your say to the Government on late payment

The Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) is looking for small businesses to interview about two new websites they’re building for businesses. One of the new websites will be about the new ‘Small Business Commissioner’, the other will support the new ‘Payment Practices Duty to Report’ programme, where large businesses will have to publish information about their payment practices on a six monthly basis. If you’re interested in having your say complete this survey.

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.