Skip To The Main Content
23 December 2016

Weekly Brief 51 - Friday 23 December 2016

On behalf of FSB Westminster’s Policy, Public Affairs, Media and Admin teams, we wish our members and all small businesses a safe and happy Christmas. We’ll still be bringing you Weekly Brief through the holiday period, so check your inbox as usual next Friday. To sign-up for Weekly Brief emails, please use this link

Local spending transparency needed
FSB has called for more transparency over the way taxpayers money is spent by Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs), following a report released by the Public Accounts Committee (PAC). The PAC is pushing for clarity around devolution objectives in England, including for the Government to review the accountability of LEPs. We now want to see the Government insist that LEPs publish a register of business interests and fulfil their obligations to appoint a small business champion to their Board, as announced at the last Budget. This was covered by The Times.

UK broadband not up to speed
The Government has announced extra funding to bring faster broadband to parts of the UK. It follows the release of OfCom figures last week, showing nearly half a million businesses still cannot access superfast broadband. FSB wants to ensure this funding reaches small firms. In a press release, we called on the Government to step up and deliver a Universal Service Obligation (USO) so that a basic level of broadband can be accessed by all small businesses by the end of this Parliament.

Parliamentary Update
During the Christmas Adjournment debate in the House of Commons on Tuesday, Theresa Villiers MP (Cons, Chipping Barnet) raised Making Tax Digital and her concerns about the current proposals. She mentioned that she had welcomed meeting FSB in Parliament to discuss our recent report and the estimated cost to small businesses of Government’s proposals. In response, Michael Ellis MP, Deputy Leader of the House of Commons, pointed out that it was a voluntary pilot system and that points of concern will be listened to. 

On Wednesday, during a House of Lords debate on Non-Domestic Rating (Chargeable Amounts) (England) Regulations, Lord Bourne of Aberystwyth, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State at Department for Communities and Local Government, referenced FSB support for the Government’s upcoming business rates transitional relief scheme.

Would you be affected by Clean Air Zones?
The Department for Transport would like to hear from businesses operating vehicle fleets about the potential impact of introducing Clean Air Zones. If you operate a vehicle fleet and will be affected by this issue, please complete this anonymous survey to inform its decisions.

Share your industry and leadership know-how with the next generation
Business schools welcome industry expertise into their classrooms. The Bridge Programme prepares senior executives to teach in world-renowned business schools and make a successful transition from the boardroom to academia. Find out more about this internationally recognised programme, run by the Chartered Association of Business Schools and AACSB, here.

Apply to study small business
The Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses UK programme is designed to provide high-quality, practical education and business support to leaders of high-growth small businesses and social enterprises across the country. It brings together leaders of small businesses from across industry sectors and creates unique networking and peer learning opportunities. The curriculum has been designed by world-class experts in entrepreneurial learning. Applications for Spring 2017 are now open.

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.