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14 September 2018

Weekly Brief 37 - Friday 14 September 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.

Extra costs and more red tape: the risk of No-Deal Brexit

Following the release of the latest no-deal Brexit technical notes from the Government yesterday, FSB warns that it is becoming clearer that a sudden no-deal Brexit would be dangerous and damaging to small firms. In particular, small businesses that export and import could be hit hard with additional cost burdens and complicated levels of compliance.

Government must come clean about apprenticeship target as starts slide again

Responding to the announcement of a drop in apprenticeship starts this week, FSB National Chairman Mike Cherry said that the 28% year-on-year fall is yet another clear signal that the Apprenticeship Levy system isn't working to its full potential. He added that the Government should come clean about its ambitious target of three million new apprenticeship starts by 2020. Read more about FSB's ongoing #SaveOurCashpoints campaign here.

Continued ATM closures hurting small firms

Reacting to a new report published by the ATM network LINK on Wednesday which reveals that some 250 cashpoints are closing every month across the country, FSB warned that small firms and consumers are increasingly struggling to access cash, especially in rural areas. FSB welcomed measures that the Payment Systems Regulator has now committed to take to prevent further damage being inflicted upon small businesses and the high street.

Parliamentary Mentions

During Prime Minister's Questions, Jeremy Corbyn asked Theresa May about concerns that FSB and other organisations are raising about the rollout of Universal Credit. FSB's #ThinkSelfEmployed campaign highlights the challenges that the system creates for low-earning self-employed people. Theresa May said that FSB and the others mentioned give excellent service.

And in Parliament this week Shadow Business Minister Bill Esterson raised FSB's analysis of a new export strategy which is lacking "definitive, detailed interventions". Trade Secretary Liam Fox stated that the department had spent a "great deal of time" listening to small businesses and criticised Labour's own approach to business and trade. 

Keep on top of company accounts

HMRC has launched a new series of webinars and guides to help you keep on top of expenses and monitor how much your firm is spending on them. Access the advice here.  

National Minimum Wage Youth Rates: we want to hear from you

The Low Pay Commission is undertaking a review of National Minimum Wage Youth rates. 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. 

Businesses in the community focus group

FSB wants to hear your views on how small businesses play a part in their communities:  supporting charities, social enterprises and local groups. Small businesses add social value to their surrounding areas - with implications for procurement processes. FSB is setting up a focus group to gauge the thoughts of different communities. To attend our focus group on the matter please contact Matt Jaffa. 

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.