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03 August 2018

Weekly Brief 31 - Friday 3 August 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.

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. 

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