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30 December 2016

Weekly Brief 52 – Friday 30 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 New Year. To sign-up for Weekly Brief emails, please use this link.

Business Rates flawed and regressive
FSB has reiterated its call to protect small businesses in London who are set to be disproportionately impacted by April’s planned increases in business rates. Ahead of the Autumn Statement, FSB London urged the Treasury to set 100 per cent relief thresholds of £20,000 and £15,000 for rateable properties in inner and outer London respectively. The comments appeared on the front page of the Telegraph.

Share your view on the Apprenticeship Levy
The Department for Education is keen to hear your opinion on the Apprenticeship Levy ahead of its introduction in April. Although most small businesses will not have to pay the levy, they stand to benefit as employers will be able to transfer up to 10% of their annual levy value to other organisations from 2018. Please take five minutes to complete this survey by 6 January.

Parliamentary Update 
The House of Commons and House of Lords are in recess until Monday 9 January.

Still suffering from slow broadband?
Following the announcement of over £1bn of investment in the UK’s digital infrastructure at the Autumn Statement, the Government has issued a Call for Evidence as it works on plans to distribute the promised funding. Earlier this month, FSB called on the Government to deliver a Universal Service Obligation (USO) so that all small businesses can access a basic level of broadband by the end of this Parliament. Click here to take part in the Call for Evidence which closes on 31 January.

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 survey to help inform DfT decision-making.

BEIS boosts Get in Go Far campaign
This week saw the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy launch the next phase of its Get in Go Far campaign. The initiative aims to inspire more young people to take on an apprenticeship, and more employers to offer them. Latest FSB research indicates that half of its members either employ an apprentice or would consider taking one on in future.

Get involved in the Flag it Up campaign
The Home Office has launched the Flag it Up campaign which aims to help SMEs fight money laundering. Serious and organised crime costs the UK economy £24bn annually and small accountancy firms can becoming unknowingly tied-up in hiding the proceeds of such crime. Click here for more information about the campaign and how you can participate.

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.