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29 March 2019

Weekly Brief 13 - Friday 29 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.

Increases to the National Minimum Wage

The National Living Wage will increase on Monday 1 April, rising from £7.83 for workers aged over 25 to £8.21. The National Minimum Wage will also increase from £7.38 to £7.70 for those aged 21-24. Rates for other age groups are available online here. Make sure you check the rates and update pay roll so your staff are paid correctly.  

Braced for auto-enrolment changes? 

Employer minimum contributions for auto-enrolled workers will double from 2% to 3% on Saturday 6 April. Click here for information on the increases and what employers need to do to set up the increases.

Business Basics Fund - closing soon

This Business Basics Fund closes at midday on the 17th April. The fund is designed to give grants to organisations interested in improving business support for SMEs. Funding of up to £400,000 is available to run trials and £60,000 for proof of concepts to test innovative ways to encourage SMEs to use productivity-boosting technology and management practices. Click here to find out more about Business Basics and how to apply.

HMRC MTD advice

With just days to go until the launch of Making Tax Digital (MTD), HMRC have issued new guidance to help businesses that will need to adapt to the changes before they come into force on 1 April. FSB has its own MTD hub which has plenty of information to help you with the transition.

THE SMALL BIZ WEEK IN REVIEW

Monday & Tuesday

The start of the week marked one week until the launch of MTD. FSB has been working hard to offer advice and guidance to members and small firms right across the country- find out more here.

Wednesday 

Amid the ongoing Brexit uncertainty, FSB National Chairman Mike Cherry issued a statement saying that it was time to work together to stop a chaotic no deal Brexit and to find a pro-business solution.

He then went onto CNN to discuss the issue saying that many small firms who have supply chains with the EU need to know what the future trading relationship will look like.

Thursday

Mike Cherry went to 10 Downing Street for the Small Business, Scale-up and Entrepreneurs Business Council, discussing support for start-ups, the cost of doing business and exporting

Friday

FSB launched its Small Business Index for Q1 of 2019, it showed that small business confidence was in negative territory for the third consecutive quarter, the first time this has happened in the SBI's nine-year history.

FSB's Retail Chair Michael Weedon appeared on BBC Breakfast to discuss the decision that some councils are making to impose parking levies to invest in local projects. 

And FSB's Director of Communications Louise Stewart appeared on BBC Radio 4's Woman's Hour to discuss the issues that Brexit is having on women and small firms. 

FROM THE CORRIDORS OF POWER

NICs holiday for labour market disadvantaged groups

This week the Lords called for the Government to implement their manifesto commitment to introduce a one-year National Insurance contributions holiday for firms that employ people from labour market disadvantaged groups, as recommended by FSB. Responding for the Government, Lord Bates said that the Government remains committed to implementing its manifesto commitments. 

Amazon and SMEs

MPs debated the terms offered to SMEs who sell through Amazon marketplace. The debate was led by Shadow DDCMS Minister Kevin Brennan. They discussed the positive opportunities to access more customers, but also case studies where particular terms and practices have put small businesses at risk. Small Business Minister Kelly Tolhurst said the Department has an ongoing review of competition including in digital markets, as well as the recent findings of the Furman review.

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