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18 October 2019

Weekly Brief 42 - Friday 18 October 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.


Brexit Hub

As the Brexit process continues, check out our FSB information hub for practical information about how to plan and prepare for the UK’s withdrawal from the EU. All of the information on the hub is based on information provided by the UK Government and the European Union. You can find out more here

Concerned about post-Brexit data rules?

The Small Business Minister Kelly Tolhurst will be taking part in a conference call with small business owners on the morning of 23 October to discuss the use and transferal of data after Brexit. If you’re interested in taking part, click here.

Thomas Cook call-out

If you’re part of a supply chain that’s been impacted by the collapse of – or late payment by – the travel giant Thomas Cook, we want to hear from you. Please get in touch with Matt Dickinson and David Hale to share your experiences. Comments can be treated as confidential.        



At the start of the week, the Government outlined its legislative agenda for the forthcoming parliamentary session in the Queen’s Speech. Reacting to the address, FSB’s National Chairman Mike Cherry said that it served “as a stark reminder of the many domestic challenges that have been neglected over the past three years as Brexit has absorbed Government bandwidth.”

The Queen’s Speech covered a range of topics from the environment, to infrastructure, to Brexit. FSB’s reaction was widely covered, including in the Telegraph and FT, while FSB’s Director of External Affairs & Advocacy Craig Beaumont spoke with Eamonn Holmes on talkRADIO to discuss what the speech means for small firms.

Elsewhere, the Chancellor Sajid Javid confirmed that the Government will publish a Budget on 6 November.


Central to the Queen’s Speech was publication of the Environment Bill, which includes plans to address serious issues like air pollution and plastic waste. Responding to the development, Mike Cherry stressed that not all businesses will find it easy to make changes quickly, and many will require additional support in order to support the green agenda.


FSB launched ‘Lost Connection’, a landmark report on the state of mobile and broadband connectivity across the UK. The study finds that a third of small firms (33%) are struggling with broadband speeds that are insufficient for their current business needs, while two in five (40%) say their broadband is not good enough for their future needs. Read more about the findings in The Times. You can also read the full report here.


It was announced on Thursday that UK and EU negotiators had reached a Brexit deal. Reacting to the news, Mike Cherry said that, “after three years of uncertainty that has stalled planning, hampered investment and slowed growth, a last-minute Brexit deal now seems within reach”. His comments were covered by the Telegraph, BBC Radio 5Live and the Guardian.


FSB’s Director of Communications Louise Stewart appeared on BBC Radio Kent to discuss links between out of hours work emails and stress. You can listen back to the interview here, and access our FSB Wellbeing Hub for information and practical advice on mental health and general wellbeing. 

FSB also launched a new report, ‘Calling Time on Business Crime’, assessing the impact of crimes like robbery and theft, as well as cybercrime, on small firms. Click here to read more.


FSB was mentioned by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy in its latest research paper: ‘Understanding the barriers and enablers to the adoption of best practice technologies and management practices by Small and Medium sized Enterprises (SMEs)’.


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