Skip To The Main Content
15 September 2017

Weekly Brief 38 – Friday 15 September 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
Minister to name and shame councils on business rates 
A government decision to publish a list of local authorities that have successfully administered business rates relief schemes next month, has been welcomed by FSB. National Chairman Mike Cherry added the emergency hardship relief announced at the previous budget could be the difference between surviving and shutting up shop for many small firms- and called on every council to "get their house in order". 

Retail Prices Index hike to increase business rates bills 
An increase in the RPI measure of inflation to 3.9% in September will add to cost pressures facing small business, said Mike Cherry after it was announced this week. The increase in inflation will add almost four per cent to all business rates bills next year, a huge blow to thousands of small firms. He called on CPI-indexation to be brought forward to 2018. 

Financial watchdog refuses to publish RBS report 
The head of the Financial Conduct Authority has decided not to publish its full report into the treatment of customers in Royal Bank of Scotland's controversial Global Restructuring Group. Chief executive Andrew Bailey said it wasn't in the public interest to release the information, but Mike Cherry said the FCA has a duty to publish its findings

Entries open for FSB Celebrating Small Business Awards 2018
Business owners can now apply for the FSB Celebrating Small Business Awards 2018, highlighting the best of the UK's 5.5 million small businesses. With 12 different award categories to enter, a series of 12 area award ceremonies will be held across the UK. Each area category winner will go forward to the national UK awards final, where the category winners and the overall FSB Small Business of the Year 2018 will be announced. The awards are open to both members and non-members and entries are free. Find out more about the categories and how to apply here

Parliamentary updates 
On Monday in the House of Lords debate on business rates, The Earl of Lytton quoted the FSB and agreed the business rates appeal system is a "shambles".

On the same day in the House of Lords, Lord Harrison asked the Government a question on Late Payments and Small Businesses. He quoted FSB research, stating "we lose 50,000 viable businesses every year, and we lose some £2.5 billion to the Exchequer, because of the failure to act on that effectively".

During a House of Commons debate on the Finance Bill on Tuesday Mel Stride MP, the Financial Secretary to the Treasury, stated that meetings with FSB led to the Government concluding that the smallest business, below the VAT threshold, shall not be mandated to comply with Quarterly Tax Reporting under Making Tax Digital. 

Also on Tuesday during BEIS oral questions, Marie Rimmer MP (Lab, St Helens South and Whiston) spoke about the Staircase Tax and quoted FSB when calling for a fundamental review of business rates. 

Have your say on card-not-present fraud 
We're interested in hearing from businesses that have experienced card-not-present fraud. The EU is looking to legislate in this area and introduce strict card authentication measures, but we worry they may be going too far. If you have a story to share, please get in touch with James Sibley.

CWU delivers case for Post Bank
Establishing a state-owned UK Post Bank could improve small business access to finance and protect firms from the impacts of bank branch closures, according to a new report by Cass Business School commissioned by the Communications Workers Union (CWU). The report argues that the Post Office should take full control of the banking services offered in its branches, currently managed by the Bank of Ireland, substantially improving them through a Post Bank subsidiary. 'Making the case for a Post Bank' can be read here.

Views sought on apprenticeship funding 
Department for Education want to hear your views on apprenticeship funding by completing a short survey. Apprenticeship funding has been reformed and this survey offers a further opportunity to comment on how changes to funding have affected you and your organisation. To give your views, click here. If you have any questions, please get in touch with Education and Skills Policy Advisor, Annie Peate

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.