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27 July 2018

Weekly Brief 30 - Friday 27 July 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.

Heathrow runway cleared for take-off as revenues top £1.4bn

Following strong results for Heathrow Airport in the first six months of 2018, FSB is calling for progress to be made on construction of a third runway at the international hub. The ask follows a parliamentary vote in June which highlighted the overwhelming support among MPs for the project. It is hoped that the good figures can pave the way for procurement opportunities for small firms when construction starts on the runway.

Small firms being locked out of public sector contracts, say cross-party MPs

Responding to the publication of a new Public Accounts Committee report on strategic suppliers, FSB National Chairman Mike Cherry said that the report outlines the different ways in which the current system of public procurement is broken. He stressed that the favouring of larger firms over their smaller peers often leads to the wasting of taxpayer's money.

Small businesses left to swelter in heatwave by business rates system

As Britain bakes in one of the most prolonged heatwaves in recent history, FSB is calling on the Government to repeal a tax which hits businesses who have installed air-conditioning units. Currently the Valuation Office Agency (VOA) says that having these units adds value to properties, meaning small businesses face higher business rates bills when they put them in place. FSB has called for the so-called Aircon Tax to be scrapped.

Retailers feel the heat as 40 shut up shop every week

Following the announcement today that 2,197 retailers became insolvent in the 12 months ending Q2 2018, and the number of individual insolvencies reached its highest quarterly level for six years, FSB warns that small shops are up against a perfect storm of rising employment costs, spiralling business rates and high inflation.

National Minimum Wage Youth Rates: FSB wants to hear from you

The Low Pay Commission is undertaking a review of National Minimum Wage Youth rates. The Low Pay Commission is an independent body made up of employers, trade unions and experts whose role is to advise the Government on the minimum wage. The National Living Wage is for workers aged 25 and over. The other minimum wage rates comprise: the 21-24 Year Old Rate, the 18-20 Year Old Rate, the 16-17 Year Old Rate and the Apprentice Rate, see here. If you are currently using these youth rates, we want to hear from you as part of our research. Please contact Emelia Quist. 

Pensions spot checks

The Pensions Regulator will be conducting spot checks on employers in Essex, Kent, Hertfordshire, Bedfordshire and Cambridgeshire to ensure employer compliance with  auto-enrolment. Ensure you know your duties, see guidance here.

Self-employment: help and support

Put together especially for sole traders and partnerships, HMRC will be broadcasting a live webinar covering topics affecting the self-employed. These will include allowable and simplified expenses as well as how you can save you time.

X-Forces Enterprise to deliver diversity series

X-Forces Enterprise and the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst (RMAS) are working in partnership to deliver a Diversity and Inclusivity series. The work is part of a growing movement which boldly questions the reasons and practices of inequality, not only in the Army, but more widely in British culture. The two organisations are exploring the ideas of other individuals, institutions and organisations and understand how their experience links to their own. If you'd like to contribute to this, please take this short survey. Find out more about X-Forces Enterprise.