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03 May 2019

Weekly Brief 18 - Friday 3 May 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

Small Business LGBT+ Pride

June is Pride month, and we are calling on you as LGBT+ small business owners and employees to share your stories and experiences with us as we celebrate the diversity of the small business community. We will be running a Pride campaign throughout June. If you're interested in being involved, please email anna.phillips@fsb.org.uk. 

Have your say on the National Minimum Wage 

We want to understand how businesses are being impacted by increases to the National Living Wage and National Minimum Wage. Has your business been affected? If so, how have you adapted to this increase in wage costs? Do you employ workers aged under 25? If you're a Big Voice member, have your say before 9.30am on Wednesday 15 May. If not, you can sign up here.

Question the Small Business Minister

The Government's Small Business Minister Kelly Tolhurst will be holding a teleconference with the Small Business Commissioner Paul Uppal on 9 May at 10am. They will be discussing late payment and the importance of addressing this issue. As part of the discussion, small business owners will have the opportunity to ask questions. Places are limited, so move quickly and register here.

THE SMALL BIZ WEEK IN REVIEW

Monday

At the start of the week, FSB called on the Chancellor Philip Hammond to safeguard the future of the 1p and 2p coins, following previous reports that they could be removed from circulation. FSB National Chairman Mike Cherry said that "a firm wanting to charge 99p should still have the freedom to hand a penny change to a customer paying with a £1 coin." It was confirmed later in the week that the Chancellor would not scrap the coins. 

Tuesday

The Government's Insolvency Service announced this week that overall business insolvencies have risen in recent months. FSB warned that the figures showed the immense strain that small businesses are currently under as a result of rising employment costs, unfair business rates and significant political uncertainty. Read more in the Guardian.

Wednesday & Thursday

FSB's campaign to protect free access to ATMs was front page news mid-week, occupying a lead story in the Daily Express. The latest figures indicate that cash points are currently closing at a rate of 500 a month - following cuts to cash machine funding that started to take effect last summer - and we've lost more than 3,000 bank branches since 2015. Senior Media Advisor Matt Dickinson appeared on BBC Radio Kent to discuss why free access to cash is so important.

And in Parliament, Senior Public Affairs advisor Charlotte Taylor-Philip spoke to the All Party Parliamentary Group for Textiles and Fashion, discussing business rates reform, funding for local infrastructure, and access to cash for small fashion retailers.

Friday 

Today marked a significant win for FSB and Which?'s -Freedom to Pay. Our Way.' campaign. The initiative's central proposal - establishing an expert group to safeguard access to cash across the UK - has now been adopted by government. The news was covered by the majority of national newspapers, Sky and the BBC. Thanks to all those who have backed the campaign and made it a success. 

FROM THE CORRIDORS OF POWER

Making Tax Digital

The House of Lords held a debate on Making Tax Digital, during which Baroness Burt (Liberal Democrat) flagged that "the Federation of Small Businesses- found that putting MTD-compliant software in place this year will cost a small firm an average of £564-not £109 as HMRC estimated". She expressed concerns that small businesses were not ready for the change. 

Responding for the Government, Lord Young said the Government is "committed to striking the right balance between helping the compliant majority to fulfil their obligations, and providing appropriate support to customers who need extra assistance to get things right".

JOIN BIG VOICE AND MAKE YOUR BUSINESS HEARD

Big Voice is FSB's unique online research community and it's free for members to join. By responding to one of our surveys, members give us the evidence we need to engage with politicians around the world on the subjects that matter to you. Join for free to make sure your voice is heard. 

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