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08 February 2019

Weekly Brief 6 - Friday 8 February

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.

NMW consultation on salaried hours work and sacrifice 

The Government has launched a consultation on the National Minimum Wage (NMW) rules regarding salaried workers and the operation of salary sacrifice schemes. Some of the conditions required to classify work as salaried hours work can be complex and restrictive, making compliance with legislation difficult.  If you have experience of the above in your business, please contact Emelia Quist.  

Are you at the heart of your community?

On 25 February, FSB is launching a major new report looking at the impact of small firms on local communities across the country. On the day and after the launch, we'll be taking to Twitter to share as many thoughts as possible from members and supporters alike. To support our campaign on launch day, post a short video of yourself or a business on twitter explaining why you love your community, tagging @FSB_Policy. Alternatively you can send your video to Jordan Bhatt. 

Get involved in our late payments campaign

FSB is launching a new campaign on 18 February aimed at helping to tackle the scourge of late payments. Please help to support our efforts on the day by vocalising support for our asks and sharing your perspectives on late payment. Be sure to use the campaign hashtag #FairPayFairPlay in your post so we can re-share.


Making Tax Digital 

From 1 April, businesses will be required to submit quarterly VAT returns online in accordance with the Government's Making Tax Digital initiative. If you have an agent, bookkeeper or accountant, now is a good time to start or step-up discussions about MTD. One way to get ahead of the changes is to join HRMC's pilot. Full HMRC guidance can be found here and FSB has its own dedicated MTD hub. If you have thoughts on MTD - or feedback on the hub - please share with Lorence Nye.  

Countdown to Brexit

As the stalemate in Westminster continues, the clock keeps ticking towards 29 March when the UK is set to leave the European Union. HMRC has now provided further advice to businesses ahead of the UK's exit from the EU. Click here to see advice about -transitional simplified procedures' for those who import from the EU. 

Local awards success

The first of the FSB Celebrating Small Business Awards 2019 area finals have been held in North West England. The area category winners, including a small firm that markets black garlic ketchup, will go on to compete in the national UK finals on 23 May. Find out more about the awards here.

Advice on age discrimination

Workplace experts Acas have launched new guidance to help employers and line managers support an age-diverse workforce. Research has found that both young and older workers feel they are discriminated against in the workplace. Some largely unchecked stereotypes and myths still prevail.



At the start of the week, The Construction Purchasing Managers' Index fell to its lowest point in ten months, hitting 50.6 in January. Employment growth within the sector has dropped to a two-and-a-half year low. FSB highlighted the unique challenges faced by small firms identified in its Impact of Government Policy Index (IGPI). 


Responding to new measures from the Government aimed at diverting more pension savings towards smaller firms, FSB National Chairman Mike Cherry welcomed the intervention, stressing that too many viable small business owners still struggle to obtain the investment they need to reach their full potential.

Wednesday & Thursday 

The Bank of England voted to hold its headline Bank Rate at 0.75% this week. The proportion of successful small business credit applicants being offered a borrowing rate of 5% or more has hit a record-high (74%) according to FSB's Small Business Index (SBI). Against this backdrop, the BoE's wait-and-see approach was hailed as a welcome development by business groups.   

Thursday also marked #TimeToTalkDay, an initiative focussing on the improvement and awareness of mental health in the workplace and beyond. For more advice on how to deal with mental health in the workplace, click here.


FSB was featured in an FT analysis of potential future trading relations between the UK and countries that the EU has signed trade deals with after Brexit. Mike Cherry said that many small traders have been left with little clue as to what trading landscape they will be faced with in seven weeks' time.


Treasury Committee explores MTD

FSB Policy Chairman Martin McTague gave evidence to the Treasury Committee on Making Tax Digital. He said that MTD was happening at the same time as small businesses were trying to prepare for Brexit, and many are not aware of the coming changes. He is encouraging the Government to focus on helping small business comply with changes, rather than penalising them for genuine mistakes.

Unpaid work trials

Shadow Minister Chi Onuwurah mentioned FSB in a debate about unpaid work trials, saying that unpaid trial shifts can verge on exploitation when used improperly.


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