Skip To The Main Content
09 November 2018

Weekly Brief 45 - Friday 9 November 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.

Tackling the access to finance challenge 
FSB has launched a new policy report outlining fresh measures to improve small business access to finance across the UK. Going for Growth finds that only one in seven small firms is currently applying for external finance, and the vast majority that do apply seek traditional bank loan or overdraft facilities without considering alternatives. The report's recommendations were covered by the Times, P2P Finance News and Business Link.    

"Small businesses are not immigration officers" 
On Monday, National Chairman Mike Cherry responded to speculation that small employers may need to conduct additional checks on EU employees after Brexit. He warned that, "most small firms don't have HR or legal departments to deal with complex immigration procedures, or the time and resources to deal with the additional administrative burden this would bring", adding that, "small businesses are not immigration officers". Wider FSB research on Brexit was covered this week by the Financial Times and Evening Standard.    

Parliamentary update
During Treasury Questions in the House of Commons this week, Conservative MP Mark Pawsey (Rugby) highlighted the forthcoming Small Business Saturday on 1 December, and asked about changes to business rates for small retailers. Responding, Financial Secretary Mel Stride congratulated FSB on its involvement in Small Business Saturday and said that the additional business rates relief for small retailers announced in the Budget would help our high streets.

On Tuesday, the Government announced the formation of five new business councils to advise the Prime Minister on opportunities and issues affecting businesses after Brexit. FSB National Chairman Mike Cherry has been appointed as the business group representative for the Small Business, Scale-ups and Entrepreneurs Council.

HMRC getting you down?   
HM Revenue & Customs has launched a new consultation seeking ways to streamline the process of amending tax returns. If you've been let down by HMRC's customer services - through delayed rebates, excessive phone call waiting times or issues with the HMRC website - we'd like to hear about your experiences. Please get in touch with Matt Dickinson and Lorence Nye.

Legislating tips 
If you operate in a sector where tipping, gratuities or service charges are often used, we want to hear from you. The Government has issued new legislation aimed at ensuring that tips are passed on in full to the front-line workers who directly provide the services which generate tips. If you're set to be impacted by this change, please contact Emelia Quist.  

Counting the cost of calories
Under new plans announced as part of the Government's childhood obesity strategy, it has been proposed that all restaurants, cafes and establishments that sell food will need to display how many calories are in each of their products. FSB would like to know your thoughts on this matter, please contact Jordan Bhatt.

Check your inbox for the latest Big Voice survey
If you're a member of the Big Voice community, please check your inbox for our latest survey on apprenticeships. Big Voice is FSB's unique online research community, and it's free for members to join. By responding to one of our surveys, you give us the evidence we need to engage with politicians around the world on the subjects that matter to you. Join for free to make sure your voice is heard.