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03 August 2007

Weekly Brief 31 - August 2007

Reference number: 070803_WB31

Weekly Brief
Week 31 of 2007 Friday 3 August 2007

In this week''s issue: Government has bigger fish to fry, Lez needs more, Flood tax relief welcomed, Potter-Mania, Life in a small firm, Regulation, Next week.

1. Government has bigger fish to fry
Following the victory last week of Arctic Systems, against which the HMRC brought a case for paying themselves a combination of dividends and salaries designed to minimise the amount of tax they paid, the Government has planned a review. However, Stephen Alambritis warned in a large Sunday Times feature, that the government should drop these plans: “We believe it would be mealy-mouthed and curmudgeonly of them to hold a review. The government has bigger fish to catch rather than trying to come down hard on small, family businesses.” Hear hear.
 
2. LEZ needs more; six months until London pollution plan hits hauliers
The FSB this week called on the Mayor of London, Ken Livingstone, to make greater efforts to publicise his plans for a Low Emission Zone (LEZ) in the capital. The plans will hit hauliers and business vehicles across the UK because over 50% travel through London at least once a year. Chris Glen, FSB Transport Chairman said “The FSB fully supports the aim of the Mayor to reduce pollution in London. However, there is a great danger that many hauliers will be unaware of this scheme and will get caught out because of a lack of information from Mr Livingstone''s office.”
More details of the Low Emission Zone can be found at http://www.tfl.gov.uk/roadusers/lez/default.aspx
 
3. FSB welcomes Flood tax relief
The FSB welcomed the announcement by HMRC to offer tax assistance to those businesses affected by the recent flooding. John Wright, FSB National Chairman, said, “All assistance is gratefully received as the flood waters recede and this will go a long way to ensuring that more businesses can remain solvent until they can trade again.”
4. Wizardly disappearing acts send employers potty
The working week got off to a start with The Star reporting that ‘millions skive off to finish Potter book!'' FSB spokesman Matthew Knowles pulled no punches: “Absenteeism is no laughing matter.” Indeed.
 
5. Real Business in Brown''s Britain
The Daily Telegraph this week asked what is the reality of doing business in Gordon Brown''s Britain, specifically for small companies – the backbone of this country''s enterprise economy. FSB are cited as saying ‘a significant minority of its members claim regulatory burdens as a reason for downsizing or closing''. However, the same article puts forward the notion that ‘we will look back on the Blair-Brown years as a golden period for British enterprise''. Time will tell, but some still believe things can only get better; to coin the lyrics of Blair''s accompanying song as he entered into power in the first place.
 
6. Better Regulation Executive (BRE)
A reminder that the Better Regulation Executive (BRE) is looking to meet businesses struggling with red tape. BRE is keen to find out how government policy impacts small businesses in order to achieve a real improvement in the time and money they spend in regulation compliance. Please contact cassandra.kenny@fsb.org.uk for details.
 
7. Coming up next week…
Next week the FSB will urge the Government that it needs to measure the impact of the Code of Practice on the Provision of Free Nursery Education for three and four year olds on nursery providers, many of whom are facing severe hardship or even closure because of inadequate government funding for free nursery places.
 
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