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16 August 2019

Weekly Brief 33- Friday 16 August 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.

Trade with Australia

Do you have customers or suppliers based in Australia? We're keen to hear from small businesses that export to, or import from, Australia to understand their experiences, whether you're buying or selling goods or services. We'd also be interested in hearing from companies that have considered selling there or have done so in the past. To share your thoughts, please email James Sibley.

Trading Online Overseas? 

Have you used the Department for International Trade's E-Exporting Programme to support your business in selling online overseas? If so, we would be keen to hear from you. To share your experience, please get in touch with Oliver Hateley.



At the start of the week, Head of Media Alan Soady featured on BBC Radio 5 Live to discuss how small businesses are preparing for a possible no deal Brexit on 31 October. He told the drive time show that firms involved in trade would need to prepare their customs arrangements. 


New FSB research found that small business owners are cutting profits and productivity-enhancing investments in an attempt to absorb inflation-beating wage increases. One of the key reasons for this was April's National Living Wage increase. 


Exclusive data from FSB on Wednesday revealed the scale of the problem when it comes to potholes. Data collected from Freedom of Information requests across English councils found that local authorities receive a pothole complaint every 46 seconds. The statistics revealed that combined, the depth of the country's 700,000 reported potholes over the last year, is around 28km - almost 15 times deeper than the deepest point of the Grand Canyon.

This was widely covered including on the front page of The Telegraph, BBC London and The Times.

In other travel news, FSB National Chairman Mike Cherry was left unimpressed by the rise in rail fares this week. Responding to the latest inflation statistics, including confirmation of the Retail Prices Index figure, which means rail fares will increase by 2.8% in January 2020, Mike Cherry said that it was "particularly infuriating that fares continue to rise, while often passengers are left unsatisfied with the services they receive." Read Mike's thoughts on Sky News.


Thousands of pupils across England, Wales and Northern Ireland received their A Level results and discovered whether they had got into the university of their choice. But FSB called for a review into the overuse of unconditional offers as well as the use of predicted grades to determine university places. FSB's views were featured in The Sun.

And it was revealed by the Government on Thursday that fewer than one in three (951,700) EU citizens in the UK have had settlement, or pre-settlement, status applications approved. FSB urged that every effort is made to reach EU citizens who are digitally excluded, unaware of the need to make a settled status application or part of the sole trader community.


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