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23 August 2019

Weekly Brief 34- 23 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.



PPI claim deadline next week

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has upped its efforts to encourage people to make a claim for mis-sold Payment Protection Insurance (PPI) before its 29 August deadline. Two years ago the FCA moved to draw a line under the mis-selling scandal by setting a deadline for fresh complaints. PPI was sold on business loans as well as consumer products. Find out more here.

Off-payroll working rules

HMRC has issued fresh advice regarding off-payroll working rules, known as IR35, for clients, workers and their intermediaries. The Government states that the rules ensure that workers, who would be employees if they were providing their services directly to clients, pay broadly the same tax and National Insurance contributions as employees. FSB is urging policymakers to delay changes – set to take effect in April – to where responsibility lies for applying IR35.

Re-enrolment reminder

Every three years, employers must re-enrol employees into pension schemes (as part of the wider auto-enrolment initiative) to ensure that all eligible staff who are not currently members of a workplace pension become part of one. They must then complete a re-declaration of compliance. This process must be completed for all employees that meet the necessary age and earning criteria. Find out more information about how FSB can help with the process here.


Cyber focus groups

FSB is holding two focus groups to discuss cyber security: one in Manchester on 17 September and one in London on 25 September. The purpose of the sessions is to sense-check ideas for products and services with members. To sign up, email your member details to Tanya Edgar.

Television opportunity for entrepreneurs

The makers of Gogglebox are looking for entrepreneurs or inventors with a product to sell to take part in their next series: Buy It Now. By applying, you could end up pitching to some of the UK's biggest retailers. Find out more here.



The start of the week was dominated by discussions surrounding the future of the UK immigration system and Freedom of Movement. Appearing on BBC Radio 4, FSB Director of External Affairs and Advocacy Craig Beaumont explained that 95% of small employers have never used the UK's point-based immigration system and will struggle to adapt if the system is changed overnight.

Elsewhere, BBC Radio 5 Live mentioned FSB’s call for Economic Operator Registration and Identification numbers (EORI) – needed by small firms that trade exclusively within the EU to continue buying from, and selling to, the bloc post-Brexit – to be automatically issued to all VAT-registered businesses on its drive time show.


The Government announced on Wednesday that it would  automatically issue EORI numbers to VAT-registered businesses. FSB National Chairman Mike Cherry welcomed the announcement, saying that it was a “vital intervention in preparing small traders for a no deal Brexit.”

The Government also announced that it was launching a review of HS2, stating that it would make a decision by the end of the year as to whether or not it will continue with the rail project or scrap it. On the BBC News website, Mike Cherry said that keeping the project on track will be good for UK small firms and the economy at large.


Thousands of pupils received GCSE results this week. While some pupils will go on to study A-Levels, FSB was keen to highlight the other opportunities available to young people, including apprenticeships and, from next year, T Levels. In FE Week, Mike Cherry called on Education Secretary Gavin Williamson to take urgent action to sure-up the apprenticeship funding needed to place young people in small businesses.  

And following the announcement that EU immigration to the UK has fallen to its lowest level since 2013, Mike Cherry warned that – against a backdrop of high employment and skills shortages – a “sudden end to free movement on 1 November will make a bad situation worse. “Business owners need time to prepare for such a radical change, particularly as 95 per cent of small employers have no experience of using the points-based element of our immigration system”, he added. Read more in the Independent here.


Parliament returns on Tuesday 3 September 2019.


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