Skip To The Main Content
20 April 2018

Weekly Brief 16 - Friday 20 April 2018

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.
Call for reform to help struggling childcare providers
This week FSB launched a new report examining the significant pressures currently faced by small childcare providers in England. Handle with Care, looks at the impact that the 30 hours free childcare offer, as well as increasing operating and staff costs, are having on the sector. To enable these businesses to continue providing this essential service, the report calls on the Government to increase the hourly rate paid to local authorities for the 30 hours free entitlement, and give 100 per cent business rates relief to childcare providers. The report launch was covered in The Times and Nursery World

Lack of training offered to small firms through supply chains
New FSB research has found worryingly low levels of training being offered to UK firms through their supply chains, which is putting jobs, pay and productivity at risk. Only one in ten small suppliers report being given any skills or workforce development by those they supply to, despite a growing skills shortage. Responding to the findings, FSB Chairman Mike Cherry raised concerns about the widening skills gap and called on big businesses to do more to help smaller suppliers to access training. Read more here

Small firms need support as employment cost rises
The latest employment statistics were released this week, with figures showing the employment rate at 75.4%, while the number of self-employed people dropped by 30,000 to 4.76 million. Mike Cherry said small firms have played a huge role in achieving the highest employment rate since records began. But, he expressed concern about the fall in self-employment, stressing we need to see avoid an environment that's increasingly hostile to the genuinely self-employed, forcing them to take permanent contracts. 

More ex-forces personnel encouraged to start up businesses
FSB teamed up with X-Forces Enterprise to help raise awareness of the benefits of self-employment and owning a business amongst the UK's ex-forces personnel. An honorary FSB membership is to be given to the winners of the X-Forces Soldiering On Business of the Year Awards taking place tonight. Mike Cherry, who previously served as an Armed Forces Reservist, said: "We already support a significant number of ex-forces running businesses through FSB membership, and we'd like to support many more to start-up and run a business." Read more here

Mike Cherry signs the Armed Forces Covenant 
National Chairman Mike Cherry has signed the Armed Forces Covenant on behalf of FSB. The Covenant promises support to those who serve, or who have served, in the military and their families. In signing the pledge, businesses and charitable organisations can make their own promises of support

Parliamentary mentions
FSB was mentioned by both Andy McDonald, Shadow Secretary of Transport, and Transport Minister Nushrat Ghani at Transport Questions in relation to our concerns among small firms about National Rail's proposed sale of business properties.

Mental Health Awareness Week campaign
We are looking for members to get involved with our campaign to mark Mental Health Awareness Week next month, which focuses on stress. Participants would need to be willing to send in an image and quote about how they deal with stress as a small business owner or self-employed person, which would be used on our social media channels. For more information and to get involved, email David Moore-Crouch from FSB's press team.  

Register now for Intellectual Property seminars 
The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) will be running a series of roving seminars on WIPO Services next week. The seminars will provide businesses with practical information on protecting intellectual property overseas, help them understand global IP opportunities and trends, and offer an opportunity to ask practical questions. The events will be held in Newcastle on Thursday 26 AprilLondon on Monday 30 April and Birmingham on Tuesday 1 May. Register now using the links above to secure your place.

Check whether you are eligible for a Gigabit voucher
The Government has launched a new voucher programme to help fund the installation of full fibre connectivity. Eligible businesses can claim up to £3,000 against the cost of full fibre connection either individually or as part of a group project. You can see if your business premise qualifies by clicking here.

Could you inspire the next generation of managers and leaders?
Business school students are increasingly demanding real world insights as part of their education. The Bridge Programme prepares business executives to teach on university business courses and make the switch from the boardroom to the classroom. Find out more about the internationally recognised programme, run by the Chartered Association of Business Schools and AACSB, here.

Take part in our business confidence survey
Our latest survey on small businesses confidence is now live. Members of Big Voice should check their emails to take part. The survey results will feed into our quarterly Small Business Index to help make the case for its members to leading politicians and policymakers. Big Voice is FSB's unique, online research community and it's free for members to join. Join for free and start making sure your voice is heard.