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01 March 2019

Weekly Brief 9 - Friday 1 March 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

Making Tax Digital survey

If you are a member of FSB's Big Voice community, please check your inbox for our latest survey. We want to hear your views on HMRC's new Making Tax Digital initiative being introduced next month: if you're aware of the changes, how they're affecting you to date and how much the changes are likely to cost.  

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 about data usage and Brexit. If you'd like to submit a question, please email press@fsb.org.uk.

Radio 4 request

BBC Radio 4 is interested in speaking with business owners as they make arrangements for Brexit - particularly those that trade with the EU. Participants can be of any political persuasion - the focus is on the planning process - and the station would be looking to record with you over several days this month. If you'd like to be considered, please email giles.edwards@bbc.co.uk. Depending on the volume of interest, Giles may not be able to respond to everyone who gets in touch.

LATEST ADVICE & OPPORTUNITIES

BEIS holiday pay campaign

This week BEIS launched a new campaign as part of its wider -Fair Workplace' initiative. -It Comes with the Job' aims to encourage workers and employers to ensure that everyone is receiving the correct holiday pay entitlement, particularly those in atypical working arrangements. The department highlights that £1.8 billion of holiday pay goes unclaimed each year, affecting 1.8 million workers. 

Customs intermediary grants

Time is running out to apply for the Customs Intermediaries Grant Scheme. Designed to help your business build capacity and improve efficiency in completing customs declarations, the opportunity to apply for a grant will end on 5 April. The training grants are available to customs intermediaries and traders. Learn more about applying here.  

Trading in a no deal scenario 

If the UK leaves the European Union on 29 March without a deal it will no longer operate under European Economic Area regulations for cross-border trade in services. This could mean additional legal, regulatory and administrative barriers. More details about how trade could be disrupted with individual countries can be found here. This week HMRC has also issued a notice on how a no deal scenario could affect import VAT rules. 

Productivity funding

BEIS has launched an open competition for a share of a £2million fund dedicated to developing new ways of encouraging smaller firms to adopt existing productivity-boosting technology and management practices. The competition closes on 17 April.    

THE SMALL BIZ WEEK IN REVIEW

Monday

At the start of the week FSB launched its latest report: -Small Business, Big Heart'. The new study examines links between small firms and their local communities and was officially unveiled at a Westminster event attended by guest panellists Justine Greening MP and Baroness Tanni Grey Thompson. The key asks were featured in the Sunday Times.

Tuesday

As the UK's withdrawal from the EU draws ever closer, this week the House of Commons took decisive steps to prevent a no deal Brexit on 29 March. FSB welcomed this step back from the cliff edge, adding that members want an end to the stalemate that has gripped negotiations and more certainty for the future. 

Wednesday & Thursday

Following the launch of FSB's late payments campaign, 'Fair Pay, Fair Play', Director of External Affairs and Advocacy Craig Beaumont appeared on BBC Radio 4's Moneybox to discuss the scourge of late payments. 

Friday

The late payment crisis was once again brought to the fore in a joint op-ed by FSB National Chairman Mike Cherry and the CBI's Director-General Carolyn Fairbairn. In a piece for the Times, they call for fairer payment practices, adding that everyone deserves to be paid on time. 

FROM THE CORRIDORS OF POWER

No deal preparations

Caroline Spelman (Conservative, Meriden) referenced FSB research showing that 85% of small businesses are not ready for a no deal Brexit on 29 March. She stressed that small businesses do not have the same capacity for contingency planning as large corporations.

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