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22 March 2019

Weekly Brief 12 - Friday 22 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.

LATEST ADVICE & OPPORTUNITIES

Vote in the FSB elections

If you are an eligible FSB member then make sure you vote in the FSB national Director elections and for the AGM resolutions. Further details regarding Director candidates and the AGM are available on the FSB website. Online voting closes at 2pm on Monday 8 April 2019

Feedback on the FOS

From 1 April, the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) is being made available to more small businesses – those with an annual turnover of under £6.5 million, a balance sheet of under £5 million, or fewer than 50 employees will be eligible to use the service. At the same time, the maximum amount that the FOS can require financial services firms to compensate successful claimants will rise from £150,000 to £350,000. If you’ve used the FOS recently, we want to hear from you. Please contact Lorence Nye and Matt Dickinson.      

NDA misuse information

Many businesses legitimately use non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) and confidentiality clauses in agreements to prevent disclosure of confidential information. BEIS published new legal measures to protect workers from misuse of non-disclosure agreements.

Mid-Life MOT

Guide for small business employers to support staff in their 40s, 50s, 60s and older to help them assess their health, skills and finances. For further information, see: The Mid-Life MOT: Getting Started - Supporting mid-life employees to plan for their future.  

Preparing for Brexit: Digital and Data- webinar

This webinar is part of a Preparing for Brexit series delivered by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy. It is designed to help businesses to ready themselves in the event of the UK leaving the EU on Friday 29 March 2019 without a deal. Content will include the eCommerce Directive and .eu domain names in relation to a no deal exit.

THE SMALL BIZ WEEK IN REVIEW

Monday

The start of the week marked just two weeks until the introduction of Making Tax Digital- find out more by checking out the FSB hub.

Tuesday

‘Be the Business’ launched a report on raising UK competiveness. FSB National Chairman Mike Cherry attended the event as a guest speaker on a panel to discuss the report. He spoke about how having access to finance as a key issue for small firms across the UK.

Wednesday 

FSB board member Ian O’Donnell set off on his bike ride from FSB HQ in Blackpool. He planned on riding the 260 mile from Lancashire all the way to the Westminster office. The ride is all in aid of raising money for the chairman’s charity, the Rainbow Trust.  

Thursday 

With Brexit set to be delayed by at least two weeks, Mike Cherry called for pragmatism and for the games to end while ensuring that last-minute no-deal was avoided.

FROM THE CORRIDORS OF POWER

Lords debate the Spring Statement

This week the Lords debated the measures in the Spring Statement, including action on late payments and the reduction of apprenticeship co-investment from 10% to 5%. Lord Wakeham (Conservative) questioned whether the Government had done all they could to get Making Tax Digital right. The Earl of Lytton (Crossbench) raised concerns about the difficulties small businesses have in using Check Challenge Appeal to question their business rates bill.

MPs debate small business exports

During a debate on small businesses exporting, Jack Brereton MP (Conservative, Stoke-on-Trent South) referenced FSB’s research that only a fifth of small businesses are exporters and asked what more could be done to encourage them. He also spoke about recognising the full contribution of supply chains in UK Export Finance support.  

Interserve

The Lords debated outsourcing of public services as a result of Interserve going into administration and the impact on small businesses. Responding for the Government Lord Young said that the parent company went into administration and immediately went into pre-pack and so is now owned by the lenders. He said that the banks of those lenders, not the trade creditors, are the ones out of pocket.

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