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22 February 2019

Weekly Brief 8 - Friday 22 February 2019

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.

WE WANT TO HEAR FROM YOU

Brexit data podcast

Do you have questions about what Brexit could mean for your data obligations as a business owner? Does your business receive personal data from companies based in other European Union or Economic Area countries? Are you intrigued about the possible data implications of a chaotic no-deal Brexit on 29 March? The Information Commissioner's Office is putting together a podcast where it will be fielding questions from small businesses. If you'd like to submit a question, please email press@fsb.org.uk

LATEST ADVICE & OPPORTUNITIES

BEIS Shared Parental Leave campaign

BEIS has launched a campaign to promote the benefits of working parents taking Shared Parental Leave. The campaign highlights that eligible staff have a statutory right to take Shared Parental Leave and/or pay if they give the correct notice, and both leave and pay can be taken flexibly in up to three blocks. BEIS is asking businesses to recognise the benefits of being a family friendly employer and to make sure managers and staff know their rights. 

Making Tax Digital webinars

Watch the latest webinars and videos from HMRC on preparing for Making Tax Digital for VAT to help ensure you're ready for roll-out on 1 April 2019. Resources and guides are also available on FSB' dedicated MTD hub.  

New rules for German exports

Exporters of goods to Germany must now comply with the new German Packaging Law. Anyone planning to circulate packaging in a commercial capacity in the country for the first time will be affected by the new Act. This will include manufacturers, distributors, importers as well as online retailers. For more details please reach out to Jana Toon at the German-British Chamber of Industry & Commerce. j.toon@ahk-london.co.uk

Sign-up for the LATAC Roadshow

Businesses from across the UK are being encouraged to sign up for the Latin America and Caribbean (LATAC) Roadshow to explore new export opportunities. The LATAC Roadshow will be held at various locations across the UK including Glasgow, London, Reading, Leeds and the East Midlands.   

Fresh no deal guides 

The Government has created some new short video guides on importing from, and exporting to, the EU in the event of a no deal Brexit. The new resources also include a broad look at border changes in this scenario.

Protecting your intellectual property 

All businesses own intellectual property (IP) and it may well be your most valuable asset. Like other valuable business assets, you can get insurance to protect against risks associated with your IP. To decide if your business could benefit from investing in IP insurance you firstly need to recognise, understand and, if appropriate, protect your IP. The Intellectual Property Office (IPO) has a range of free online tools to help you understand more about trademarks, designs, patents and copyright.

THE SMALL BIZ WEEK IN REVIEW

Monday

FSB launched Fair Pay Fair Play, a campaign aimed at tackling the UK's late payment crisis. The initiative hinges on three key asks: appointment of Non-Executive Directors with responsibility to prevent late payment, strengthening of the prompt payment code, and the adoption of Project Bank Accounts as the default choice for major procurement projects. Visit our campaign hub to find out more and get involved. 

Tuesday

FSB responded to the announcement that Honda will close its Swindon car plant. Mike Cherry, National Chairman, said: "The planned closure of the Honda plant is not only devastating for the skilled workforce employed there, but a very worrying time for all the small businesses throughout Honda's supply chain, and especially local firms in the surrounding area."

Thursday

The Scotland FSB Celebrating Small Business Awards 2019 took place in Edinburgh. The category winners will now go through to the UK final on 23 May alongside area winners. Congrats to all those who took part and were successful on the night! 

FSB responded to the publication of the Housing, Communities and Local Government Committee's High Streets and Town Centres in 2030 report. Mike Cherry stressed that "Small businesses are at the heart of our communities, providing jobs, bespoke products and a personal service. Yet, despite being key to the success of a town centre, confidence is rock bottom and some are finding it too difficult to stay afloat."

Friday

The body responsible for overseeing the RBS remedies package announced that a £280 million share of the fund has been handed to Metro Bank, Starling and ClearBank. FSB stated that, while "it's a relief to see this funding is now finally being handed out, "where grants are being handed to well-established players - particularly those under financial pressure - BCR needs to step-up its scrutiny." 

FROM THE CORRIDORS OF POWER

FSB Small Business Index

The House of Lords discussed the recent findings of FSB's Small Business Index and issues stemming from late payments as highlighted in FSB's Fair Pay Fair Play campaign. The Minister Baroness Vere responded that the Government is working with the Small Business Commissioner to identify large companies with poor payment practices. 

Brexit job losses

Shadow Scotland Secretary Lesley Laird said that FSB and other business organisations have stated that Brexit is resulting in job losses, and called for the Government to rule out a no deal Brexit. Scotland Secretary David Mundell said that the way to achieve this was for MPs to support the Prime Minister's deal. 

Making Tax Digital

Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury mentioned FSB during a debate on Making Tax Digital, calling on the Government to rethink the policy, particularly as the changes are coming in at the same time as the UK is due to leave the EU. Financial Secretary Mel Stride said that the implementation of MTD had already been delayed and the recent pilots had seen 16,500 businesses sign-up, with 160 different software products now available. 

MTD continued

In a separate written question on MTD, Mel Stride replied saying that the Government has received a detailed response from FSB and have worked to ensure there is a competitive market for software, including some free products and ones that allow continued use of spreadsheets. 

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