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04 May 2018

Weekly Brief 18 - Friday 4 May 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.

Big night for businesses at FSB National Awards 2018
At the FSB Celebrating Small Business Awards 2018, Superfood-brand, Creative Nature, beat-off tough competition to scoop the top gong. Around 500 nominees, guests and businesspeople gathered at the Park Plaza Westminster Bridge for the annual event which was hosted by comedian Jon Culshaw. Creative Nature, based in Surrey, stole the show winning UK Scale-up Business of the Year, as well as the overall prize of UK Small Business of the Year. You can find out more about all the winners here.

Assurances needed ahead of Sainsbury's-Asda merger
FSB has called on Sainsbury's and Asda to assure small suppliers that there won't be a squeeze on prices as a result of their merger proposals. The deal, which is still subject to a probe from the Competition and Markets Authority, has raised concerns that smaller businesses may be forced into accepting unfair contracts and late payments.

Fresh blow to firms as RBS announces closures
Concerns were raised by FSB after Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) added 162 branches across England and Wales to its planned closure list. The latest round of closures have added to the fears that local high streets could suffer further at a time when small businesses are struggling. 

Interested in growth finance?
FSB is researching access to growth finance to help establish where the market is falling short and what policies can be developed to improve it. If you have accessed growth finance, or are interested in this area more generally, we want to hear from you. Please email Policy Adviser Lorence Nye to arrange a brief interview to share your views and experiences. 

Parliamentary mentions
Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government Rishi Sunak and Shadow Minister Jim McMahon both spoke about FSB's work on business rates during the Public Bill Committee on the Rating (Property in Common Occupation) and Council Tax (Empty Dwellings) Bill.

More support for self-employed from HMRC
HMRC have updated their website to include greater assistance for small businesses and self-employed who may need guidance on issues such as VAT, self-assessments and tax credits. More information is available via webinars and Live Sessions to help small businesses get all the help they need.

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, have your say before 9.30am on Tuesday 8th 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.