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11 May 2018

Weekly Brief 19 - Friday 11 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.

Cross-party MPs slam Universal Credit treatment of self-employed
The Work and Pensions Committee's 'Universal Credit: supporting self-employment' report, released this week, has delivered some "much-needed home truths" about the treatment of the self-employed under Universal Credit. Responding to the Committee's findings, FSB National Chairman Mike Cherry emphasised that self-employment is often the best route into industry for those furthest from the labour market. "The Minimum Income Floor is bad for entrepreneurialism, pure and simple. We know that it generally takes two to three years to get a viable firm off the ground," he added. 

Small business credit approvals hit 30-month low
Small firms are finding it increasingly difficult to access new finance, according to new FSB research. The fresh findings show that only six in ten (60%) small firms that apply for credit are successful, a figure that's at its lowest since Q4 2015. The proportion of smaller firms describing the availability of new credit as 'poor' (40%) in Q2 2018 is at its highest for two years. 

Support for exporting small firms is crucial 
The latest UK trade data shows the country's international deficit narrowing in the three months to March. Commenting on the news, Mike Cherry said the Government's upcoming export strategy will be crucial to providing support for smaller businesses looking to start trading overseas or enhance their export activity.

Have your say on future trade with Australia and New Zealand 
The International Trade Committee is looking for people who run small businesses to take part in an event examining potential new trading arrangements with Australia and New Zealand. The meeting will take place on Wednesday 16 May in London. For more information and to sign up, click here

Queen's Awards applications open 
Applications for the Queen's Awards for Enterprise are now open. First established in 1966, the awards recognise and encourage outstanding achievement in innovation, international trade and sustainable development. For more information and to apply, click here

Join Big Voice and make your business heard
Our next Big Voice survey, on future trading relationships with Europe and the rest of the world, will go live next week. Big Voice is FSB's unique online research community and it's free for members to join. By responding to one of our surveys, members give us the evidence we need to engage with politicians around the world on the subjects that matter to small firms. Join for free to make sure your voice is heard.