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07 December 2018

Weekly Brief 49 - Friday 7 December 2019


Last Saturday 1 December was the sixth annual Small Business Saturday, where we rally the country to back their local small businesses. This year was the most successful yet, with an estimated £812m spent with small businesses across the UK on the day. That’s an increase of 8% from 2017 when £743m was spent. Huge thanks to all of you who helped make it such a fantastic day.  


Roundtable on apprenticeships

Last year the Government overhauled the apprenticeships system introducing a number of new reforms. On Wednesday 12 December FSB is hosting a workshop at our London offices on how we can improve the apprenticeship system. If you would like to attend, please sign up here.

Are you a small business who only trades with the EU?

HMRC is writing to 145,000 VAT-registered businesses across the UK, including Northern Ireland, which only trade with the EU. If you only trade with the EU and don’t have an EORI number, you may receive a letter in the next few days.

We’ve had a request from a TV media outlet which is keen to speak to businesses that only trade with the EU – the producer is keen to discuss views on what the Government is doing for businesses that trade overseas. If you’d like to be involved please email:

Calling all small businesses in London

DWP is looking to speak to SMEs in London that employ people over the age of 50. If you do so and can spare 30mins maximum before Christmas, please contact FSB’s Employment and Pensions Policy Advisor, Emelia Quist here:

Food and Drink Sector Council Survey

The Food and Drink Sector Council is conducting a workforce and skills survey of the food and drink sector. The survey can be accessed via this link and includes questions on workforce composition, temporary agency workers, training, apprenticeships, skills and vacancies.


Calculating minimum wage rates

The Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy has recently published guidance on calculating the minimum wage to help employers adhere to legislation. New guidance and a podcast on paying the National Minimum Wage to those completing work placements and internships can be accessed here.

Employing seasonal or temporary staff
If you are planning to take on temporary staff over Christmas, don’t forget to factor in auto enrolment as the requirements apply to seasonal workers in the same way as for permanent employees. You’ll need to assess your seasonal or temporary staff individually every time you pay them. For more information on dealing with seasonal workers, and to find out what legal duties apply, visit The Pensions Regulator website.

Pension Scams
Don’t let a scammer enjoy your retirement. Find information and tools for individuals and employers around steering clear of scams here.



Responding to the launch of the Department for Work & Pensions (DWP)’s proposals for “industry-led” pensions dashboards, FSB National Chairman Mike Cherry said: “The DWP’s decision to hand responsibility for delivering pensions dashboards to industry will have alarm bells ringing among the self-employed.”


Following the publication of several letters from late-paying businesses by the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) Select Committee, FSB said: ““The Committee has exposed a late payment hall of shame. Many of these businesses are household names.”


The Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Select Committee published a report into small business productivity. In response, FSB said: “The UK’s economic success and productivity rests on the success of small and micro businesses. This report sets out a clear challenge to Government. Critically the committee is right to have identified that the issue of the UK’s poor payment culture is crippling for many small firms.


Responding to Damian Hinds, Secretary of State for Education’s Speech on Technical Education, Mike Cherry said: “The Government should match the industry placement fund for providers of T-levels for small employers to ensure they are able to deliver high quality industry placements. Without small firms’ support, the T-level system will fail at the first hurdle.”


Nesta announced the winners of this year’s Open Up Challenge, an initiative that encourages Open Banking to break down banking and funding challenges that many small firms face. The winners will receive £200,000 in funding to further their development.


Chancellor Philip Hammond spoke about FSB in relation to Brexit, as did SNP MP Marion Fellows.

Treasury Minister Robert Jenrick spoke about FSB during his appearance in front of the Treasury Select Committee.

Gill Furniss MP spoke about FSB’s campaign with Which? to maintain access to cash.

DCMS Minister Lord Ashton of Hyde mentioned FSB’s work on the #SheMeansBusiness initiative.


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