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22 September 2017

Weekly Brief 39 – Friday 22 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
FSB reacts to Theresa May's Florence speech
Responding to the Prime Minister's speech in Florence, National Chairman Mike Cherry said the intervention should act as a catalyst to move towards discussing the main economic issues at stake, including a comprehensive and ambitious free trade deal. "Our members will be pleased to see an official commitment from the Prime Minister, Cabinet and Government for businesses to face only one set of changes as we leave the EU," he said. Click here for Mike Cherry's full statement

New wellbeing campaign launched 
Small business owners and their staff are at the heart of a new campaign on health and wellbeing, launched by FSB this week. Alongside organisations including Public Health England and Mind, FSB has developed 'Wellbeing in Small Business: a short guide', aimed at providing ideas about how businesses can improve mental health and wellbeing. It includes advice on how to start conversations about stress, tackling loneliness, 'in-work' fitness groups and improving the physical environment. All the information and advice is available on the new 'Wellbeing in Small Business' hub, and you can catch up with the two-week campaign on FSB's Twitter and Facebook pages where we have been sharing infographics and videos. 

Small business confidence plummets
FSB's latest Small Business Index (SBI) showed optimism among UK small firms has slipped to its lowest level since the wake of the EU referendum, amid unprecedented political and economic uncertainty. One in eight small businesses now expects to downsize, hand on or close their business- a figure at its highest since the SBI launched in 2012. Small businesses most frequently identify the domestic economy and consumer demand as barriers to growth, while the research shows exporting small firms remain optimistic about their prospects. The story was covered widely, including on the BBC website and the Financial Times.

Trade continuity with Canada is key
As the EU-Canada trade agreement CETA provisionally come into force this week, Mike Cherry emphasised it was essential small businesses currently trading with the nation see "continuity in their ability to operate once we have left the EU"- as well as a more bespoke deal in due course. Businesses can find out about what CETA, which removes 98% of duties currently paid at Canadian customs, means for exporters though this online guide.

Celebrate your business achievements 
The FSB Celebrating Small Business Awards are attracting a significant and record number of entries from across the UK. After this week's SBI figures highlighted an increase in SME exports, FSB has been been encouraging businesses to enter the Business Exporter of the Year award which recognises the growing importance and value of the SME export market in the UK economy. It is just one of the 12 award categories that can be entered by FSB members and non-members alike, and for free.

Get ready for the Small Business Saturday bus tour 
Small Business Saturday has announced plans for this year's bus tour. Starting on Monday 23 October in Dundee, the bus will travel to 29 different towns and cities. Launching during the tour is a new mentoring programme, as well as the Small Business Saturday Blue Sofa where interviews and Q&A sessions will be streamed via Facebook Live. For dates and locations of the tour click here

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