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05 April 2019

Weekly Brief 14 - Friday 5 April 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.


Vote in the FSB elections

If you are an eligible FSB member then be sure to vote in our current national Director elections and make your views on this year's Annual General Meeting resolutions heard. Further details regarding Director candidates and the AGM are available on the FSB website. Online voting closes at 2pm on Monday 8 April 2019.

New Living Wage information

With changes to the National Living and Minimum Wage rates for both workers and employees introduced this week, BEIS has issued new information to help everyone stay up to speed. Find out more here.

Fresh Financial Ombudsman website

The Financial Ombudsman Service has launched a new website and Twitter page for smaller firms. Check it out if you're a small business or are self-employed and need help resolving a dispute about financial services.

HMRC Brexit webinars

HMRC is hosting a new set of Brexit webinars covering what UK businesses need to know to keep EU imports and exports moving in the event of no deal. They will cover important actions that businesses trading with the EU must take now. Find out more here.

Navigating Brexit event

The London Growth Hub is running a three-hour training session for small and medium-sized enterprises aimed at helping firms anticipate how Brexit will impact on their business activity and industry. Sign up here.


Have a view on apprenticeships?

The Apprenticeship Service (England only) is seeking the views of small businesses to help shape the development of the Service. Helping would involve connecting online to a researcher, and giving feedback on a prototype of how the service could look. To find out more please email



The start of the week marked a big day for small firms - dubbed -Blue Monday' by FSB - with the introduction of Making Tax Digital, a hike in business rates and increases to wage rates. FSB commentary was featured in the Times and on BBC online.


FSB Northern Ireland Chair Tina McKenzie appeared on BBC News to discuss the latest Brexit developments. She warned that a no deal Brexit would be disastrous as it could mean fresh burdens for small businesses. Watch her appearance here.


FSB National Chairman Mike Cherry was announced as one of the members of the new Strategic Trade Advisory Group. The body has been established to help advise the Government on future trade issues and voice small business interests and concerns in this space.


Mike Cherry featured on BBC Radio 5 Live's Wake Up to Money to discuss the dangers of a no deal Brexit - listen here. And FSB's Head of Policy Sonali Parekh also was also on the airwaves, discussing the ongoing impact of Brexit uncertainty and urging small traders to prepare for the future where possible on Radio 4's Farming Today.


Reacting to new statistics showing that UK productivity has fallen for a second successive quarter, Mike Cherry said that the data highlights the impact of political and economic uncertainty on the economy.


EU consumer protections

In a debate about consumer protections and the revocation of the Geo-Blocking Regulations, the Small Business Minister Kelly Tolhurst said that the Government had consulted FSB and other business organisations. The change would come into force in the event of a no-deal Brexit, as the Government believes there would be no way to enforce the geo-blocking regulation effectively on behalf of UK consumers in this scenario. 

MPs debate business rates reform

During a debate on business rates reform this week, MPs from across the different parties raised the negative impact business rates have had on small businesses and the importance of initiatives like the retail discount. MPs spoke about efforts to support independent retailers in their local areas, and pressures from out-of-town retail parks and online retailers. 


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