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25 May 2018

Weekly Brief 21 - Friday 25 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.

Many small businesses still unprepared as GDPR comes into force

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) comes into force from today, amid concerns that many small businesses are still unprepared for the new legislation. FSB has called for the Information Commissioner's Office to take a light touch approach as businesses navigate the new laws which govern how firms handle, store and protect data belonging to their customers.

Iain Duncan Smith wrong to dismiss Universal Credit self-employment flaw

On Wednesday, FSB flagged former Secretary of State Iain Duncan Smith's dismissal of recommendations from the Work and Pensions Select Committee for making Universal Credit work better for the self-employed. Currently, self-employed and employed recipients of Universal Credit receive the same treatment for the first 12 months of using the system. After that, however, support for the self-employed is calculated according to the Minimum Income Floor (MIF), which can mean the loss of hundreds of pounds worth of support each month.

Labour costs front of mind for small firms as utility and fuel bills rise

The number of small firms reporting a rise in operating costs has reach a near-record high according to new data from the FSB. The Consumer Prices Index (CPI) was 2.4% in April, considerably above the Government's 2% target. Fuel and utility bills are a key driver of rising operating costs for small businesses.

Mike Cherry trade talks in Poland

FSB national chairman Mike Cherry has been visiting Poland this week to discuss trade with several key officials. In Warsaw, he discussed Brexit with the President of Lewiatan (the Polish equivalent of CBI). He also attended the UK-Poland Business, Trade, and Investment (BTI) Forum.

ACAS to go Live for new guidance on religion and beliefs

Following new guidance from ACAS on discrimination in the workplace regarding religion and belief, the group will now be running a Facebook Live event on Wednesday 30 May at 1pm to discuss the guidance further.

HMRC sick pay webinar

Do you have any questions about statutory sick pay or managing sick leave? HMRC is hosting a free webinar with ACAS which could help answer them. Register for the event here.

Nationwide CR&D Competition Briefings

As part of the Industrial Strategy, the Government will invest up to £20m in the Next Generation Services industrial strategy challenge fund which will include an initial Creative Research and Development (CR&D)  call of up to £12m. Events about the full funding programme are taking place across the country. Sign up for them here.

Caution over possible scam TSB phishing emails

The National Fraud Intelligence Bureau (NFIB) and Action Fraud have issued a warning to TSB customers who may be targeted by fraudsters claiming to be from the bank. It comes just weeks after thousands of TSB customers were left without access to their bank accounts due to a serious IT failure. The NFIB have a survey which you can fill out to help them to clamp down on such phishing scams. 

Share your views on our future relationship with the EU 

Our survey on the UK's future relationship with the EU has now launched.  FSB members who are part of the Big Voice community should check their inboxes to complete this important survey. In doing so, you'll ensure that the needs of small businesses are heard in the ongoing Brexit negotiations.

Join Big Voice and make your business heard

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 them. Join for free to make sure your voice is heard.