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27 April 2018

Weekly Brief 17 - Friday 27 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.

Calls for more support from FCA 
The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) is urging the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) to provide small businesses with more protection when their assets are used as collateral for commercial loans. The FCA is proposing to expand the definition of an 'eligible complainant' to help smaller businesses with a turnover less than £6.5m and those with fewer than 50 employers.

One month to go before GDPR
This week marked the one month countdown ahead of the introduction of General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR). The new laws will come into place on the 25 May and will radically change the way businesses handle and store data. It will be the largest shakeup of data protection laws in the country for decades and could result in fines for businesses found to not be compliant. FSB has called on the Information Commissioner's Office, which is regulating the new law in the UK, to adopt a light touch approach, particularly in the first few weeks and months that the regulations are rolled out.

Public sector suppliers hit by persistent late payments
New research by FSB has highlighted the persistent problem of late payments which is hampering small businesses. The data is part of a wider study looking into how supply chains in the UK can be improved. FSB has called on the Government to introduce penalties for bodies who fail to pay invoices on time, an issue that affects nine out of ten (89%) public sector suppliers.

Small firms urge Lloyds to rethink branch closures
Following the announcement that Lloyds' pre-tax profits rose to £1.6 billion for Q1 2018, FSB questioned why the bank was continuing to close dozens of bank branches. Around 70 outlets of the bank are earmarked for closure in the coming months, raising concerns about the possible impacts this may have for small businesses. FSB called on Lloyds to reconsider their aggressive branch closure plan in the light of these strong financial results.

Businesses brace for mass RBS closures
In other banking news, FSB called for Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) to offer greater support for customers at high street branches with more than 180 closures planned in the coming months. It comes as RBS reported profits of more than £1.2 billion in Q1 2018. 

Drinks levy deadline approaches
The Government has called upon businesses in the drinks industry to ensure that they meet the upcoming deadline to register for the Soft Drinks Industry Levy (SDIL). It will be a criminal offence if businesses are found to have failed to register for the so-called sugar tax by the 30 April 2018.

Have your say on the National Minimum Wage 
We want to understand how businesses are being impacted by increases to the National Living Wage (NLW) and National Minimum Wage (NMW). Has your business been affected? If so, how have you adapted to this increase in wage costs? How would a premium minimum wage for workers on zero hours contracts affect your business? If you're a Big Voice member, you can have your say between Monday 30 April and Monday 7 May. If not, you can sign up here. Your response will directly inform the evidence FSB submits to the Low Pay Commission as well as our wider lobbying work on this important issue.