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16 June 2017

Weekly Brief 25 – Friday 16 June 2017

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

Summer Reception #FSB2017
On Wednesday, FSB members from across the UK gathered in Parliament, alongside dozens of MPs and peers from across the political spectrum. The event was hosted by Labour MP Chuka Umunna, and joined by leading members of government and opposition parties – including Business Minister Lord Prior, Labour Shadow Business Secretary Rebecca Long-Bailey, and Liberal Democrat MP Sir Vince Cable. Speaking at the reception, FSB National Chairman Mike Cherry urged politicians of all parties to form a “pro-small-business majority”. Read more about the event in this news story and see photos on Facebook.
Self-employment report
Together with the Royal Society of Arts (RSA), FSB has launched a new report on self-employment. 'The Self Organising Self-Employed' highlights how the self-employed are coming together to fill gaps left by Government by pooling their resources in schemes that offer financial support and security. Read our full press release, which calls on the Government to do more to actively support the self-employed. You can also watch this short video.

Inflation up again
The Consumer Price Index (CPI) has risen to 2.9 per cent. This is a four-year high, and well above the Government’s 2 per cent target. FSB responded to the rise, calling for more support for small firms who are being squeezed by inflationary pressure.

Job figures
Latest employment figures show the self-employed community has risen by more than 100,000 over the last year. In a press release, Mike Cherry called on the new Government to address discrepancies in the treatment of the self-employed under the welfare system, instead of hitting them with tax increases, such as hiking national insurance- which was dropped from the last Budget after FSB strongly campaigned against it.

Alternative lending guide

Peer2Peer Finance News has authored a new guide to alternative lending for SMEs. The overview outlines how peer-to-peer lending works, why small firms should consider it and the rights they’re entitled to under the bank referral scheme. The full guide can be accessed on the magazine’s website.

Grow your digital skills with free digital workshops

Looking to improve the digital presence of your business or charity and the digital skills of your colleagues? Lloyds Bank is organising free digital skills workshops for SMEs and charities in partnership with Google and Reason Digital. The workshops, taking place in both Edinburgh and Sheffield, will be held on Tuesday 20 June. If you’re interested in taking part, please sign-up by clicking on the links provided, where you can also find further information about future event dates and locations.

Do you import tin, tantalum, tungsten or gold into the EU?
A new regulation governing conflict minerals will come into law from 2021. This regulation will likely be subsumed into national law with the Great Repeal Bill and so the new requirements will stay in place. The European Commission has appointed a UK based service to speak to SMEs to ascertain what guidance and local support would be helpful to learn more about these requirements and ease the burden when they come into effect. Please contact FSB’s David Geary if you would be happy to speak about this topic.

Have your say on the Living Wage
Has your business been affected by increases to the National Living Wage, and if so, how have you adapted to this increase in wage costs? As a Big Voice member, you can now have your say. If not, you can sign up to the Big Voice community here. Your response will directly inform the evidence FSB submits to the Low Pay Commission as well as our wider lobbying work in this important issue.

Would you like to represent small firms at a UK level?
FSB is seeking a Chairman for its Home Affairs Policy Unit to help drive forward the work in this portfolio, ensuring we represent the views of small firms across the UK. The portfolio covers the Home Office and Ministry of Justice, as well as cyber security, data protection and service leaver issues. See the full advertisement. Apply by June 26.

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. Join for free and start making sure your voice is heard.