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. New credit unaffordable for 1 in 3 small firms as interest rates rise Small firms are finding it increasingly costly to raise new finance, according to the latest research from the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB). The findings came ahead of the Bank of England's decision to raise its benchmark interest rate from 0.5% to 0.75% yesterday, bringing it up to its highest level since March 2009. FSB Policy Chairman Martin McTague appeared on BBC News to discuss what the rise would mean for small firms. RBS profits soar amid 250 branch closures and delays to £775 million competition fund In the wake of a strong profits announcement from RBS today, FSB Policy Chairman Martin McTague warns that concentrating so much of the small business banking market in the hands of so few financial giants is not good for anyone and leads to small businesses overpaying for banking services. Earlier this week, FSB responded to the FCA's decision to take no action against senior managers formerly responsible for managing the RBS Global Restructuring Group. The regulator states that inappropriate treatment of small firms was systematic at GRG. Small businesses say no to a disorderly -No Deal' Brexit FSB stated this week that a -No Deal' Brexit would disproportionately hit small businesses in the UK. The warning comes alongside new research that reveals the consequences for small businesses if they are faced with any form of customs declarations post-Brexit. FSB statistics shows that one in ten exporting small firms would stop sales to the EU in the case of a -No Deal' Brexit. Lloyds presses on with 80 branch closures as profits hit £3.1 billion Responding to the announcement on Wednesday that Lloyds' pre-tax profits hit £3.1 billion in the first half of 2018, amid plans to close more than 80 bank branches, FSB Chairman Mike Cherry warned that the rapid pace of closures is hurting businesses on high streets all over the UK. He also urged small firms to consult the FCA's guidance on PPI after the bank announced that it's putting aside more money for mis-selling claims. Summer job case studies The subject of summer jobs for teenagers has been in the news this week and the Department for Work and Pensions are on the hunt for anyone who currently has, or has had, interesting or quirky summer job experiences that are happy to share. Let them know here. Quality of vocational education The Education Secretary Damian Hinds outlined his plans to improve social mobility this week. During the speech he announced that the Government will review the quality of vocational education for 14 to 16 year-olds. How to complete your online tax return Thinking about sending your 2018-19 tax return early this year? With lots of hints and tips, this webinar from HMRC will show you how to tailor your return, complete the self-employed page and send your tax return online. 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. 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 small firms. Join for free to make sure your voice is heard. You may also like 10 August 2018 How winning an FSB award led to Cabinet Secretary Derek Mackay MSP learning to snowboard! 30 July 2018 Investment key to securing tourism's economic lifeline 27 July 2018 Sauchiehall Street update from the FSB in Scotland 07 June 2018 Saving Scotland’s High Streets 24 February 2017 Weekly Brief 8 – Friday 24 February 2017 06 June 2016 The smallest firms need protected too!