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. Small Business Commissioner announced Former MP Paul Uppal has been announced as the new Small Business Commissioner - a role that FSB has long called for. Welcoming the announcement to the "much-needed" position, National Chairman Mike Cherry said it was key that Mr Uppal is given the powers and resources to be able to resolve disputes relating to the UK's poor payment culture and "make a meaningful difference to small businesses". FSB welcomes PM's tribute to contribution made by small businesses "Warm words are not enough", was the message from Mike Cherry after Theresa May's conference speech this week, in which she recognised that the country's prosperity and living standards rest on the success of British business. He said business support is needed to help tackle the rising cost of doing business and plummeting small business confidence. Turning the attention to next month's budget, Mike Cherry called on Chancellor Philip Hammond to reform business rates fundamentally, simplify the tax system and deliver the investment in skills and training as well as the infrastructure that small businesses need. Budget announcements must stop the productivity rot The introduction of export vouchers, simplification of R&D tax credits and expansion of the Small Business Research Initiative would provide a much-needed boost to the manufacturing industry, which has seen a fall in output per hour. Mike Cherry said the Chancellor must intervene at the Autumn Budget to "stop the productivity rot" following the second quarterly fall in UK labour productivity in Q2 2017, announced this week. Calling all members with customs experience FSB is currently engaging with Government, and in particular HM Treasury and HMRC, on its proposals for a customs arrangement with the Europe Union after Brexit. As part of this engagement, we are bringing together a small number of members for a roundtable with officials about customs issues and how their proposals might impact small businesses. We're looking for members who currently deal with customs procedures when trading overseas and would be willing to talk about their experiences. The roundtable will take place on Friday 27 October in London. If you'd like to attend please get in touch with FSB Public Affairs Advisor Jessica Smith. Small Business Saturday celebrations FSB members joined in the fun at the annual Small Business Saturday Blue Tie event on Thursday night, which saw those on the 2017 Small Biz 100 come together with previous firms on the list. It was great to see member Alison Edgar, who runs The Entrepreneur's Godmother, win the Francesca Kemp Award for Outstanding Small Business during the evening. If you're keen to get involved in this year's campaign, Small Business Saturday has just launched a number of online resources including logos and posters on their website. New cheque clearing system A new, image-based system of clearing cheques will be rolled out by UK banks and building societies from Monday 30 October. The new system, which will gradually come into usage over the next year, will speed up the time taken to clear cheques from the current six weekdays timescale, to the end of the next weekday. During the second half of 2018, all of the UK's banks and building societies will clear all cheques using the system. Businesses are advised to speak to their own bank as soon as possible to ensure that they are prepared for the changes. Click here for more information. Your views needed on VAT and cross-border B2B trade The European Commission has proposed new VAT rules for cross-border B2B trade, which could dramatically change how VAT works for small businesses in this area. If you've used VATMOSS or are active in cross-border B2B sales to customers in the EU, please get in touch with FSB Policy and Public Affairs Advisor James Sibley. 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. You may also like 16 July 2018 New Ministers clear diaries to meet with FSB 06 July 2018 Summer of sport provides small business boost 03 July 2018 Can the World Cup boost sales and team spirit? 13 April 2017 Weekly Brief 15 – Thursday 13 April 2017 17 January 2017 Pro-business Brexit must be founded on trade, talent and transition 06 June 2016 The smallest firms need protected too!