FSB regulation report launched
FSB, Newcastle University and the University of Birmingham have launched a new report, Navigating the COVID-19 Regulatory Landscape, showing how the lack of regulatory clarity over lockdowns added to the strain on firms, and urging the Government to learn lessons from what worked - and what didn't. FSB National Chair Martin McTague said: "While it is understandable that governments and regulators had to act at great speed as the circumstances of the pandemic evolved, some of the regulatory shortcomings were consistent with problems encountered in more normal times, including around clarity and communication."
Resolve Protocol challenges, FSB NI urges
FSB NI is calling on the UK government to engage in concerted talks with the EU to resolve the challenges of the Protocol. Tina McKenzie, FSB's Chair of Policy and Advocacy, said: "We very much want to see the outstanding issues being resolved through a negotiated settlement, so we get stability and certainty for businesses."
Payment regulation provisional remedies
The Payment Systems Regulator has published a provisional decision on remedies following its card-acquiring market review, to give more choice and transparency to businesses such as retailers which use payment processing services to handle customer payments. The remedies include: summary boxes to help businesses make comparisons between different service providers more easily; trigger messages, to encourage merchants to shop around and/or switch provider; and a maximum duration of 18 months for leases and rentals of point-of-sale equipment, with a maximum 30 days' notice after any renewal. The PSR is keen for any comments and suggestions on its draft remedies.
Report on women entrepreneurs
The second annual report on the progress made by the Investing in Women Code, an initiative asking funders and investors to sign up to various commitments to boost female entrepreneurs' access to finance and to other resources, has been published. It found that "in 2021, 34% of venture capital deals made by code signatories were in companies with at least one female founder, compared to an industry average of 24%", while Small Business Minister Paul Scully noted that "up to £250 billion could be added to the economy if we break the barriers to women starting and scaling new businesses at the same rate as men".
£1.3 billion lost to fraud
UK Finance's annual fraud report has found that criminal gangs stole more than £1.3 billion in 2021, up 8% on 2020's figure of £1.2 billion. UK Finance is calling for greater cross-sector action to help stymie fraudsters, and is urging businesses and consumers to remain vigilant to guard against falling victim to different types of fraud, from impersonation scams to authorised push payment fraud. UK Finance is holding a free webinar to discuss fraud trends on 5 July.
Inward investment findings
The Department for International Trade has set out the findings of its annual research into foreign direct investment (FDI) levels in the UK in 2021-22. The total number of FDI projects rose slightly, up 3% to 1,589, but the estimated economic impact of the involved projects grew by 82%, to over £7 billion. FDI project numbers were however 14% lower than in 2019-20, prior to the pandemic.
Net Zero Week
Next week (2-8 July) is Net Zero Week, a national awareness week aiming to help businesses and households on their path towards sustainability. Small businesses and sole traders can find more help and advice via FSB's Sustainability Hub, while the British Business Bank has produced a new sustainability journey on its Finance Hub, with "green business guides, jargon busters and helpful explainers to support smaller businesses".
Open Banking webinar
On 5 July, Open Banking is holding a webinar to discuss the findings of its research into how open banking improves financial decision-making and helps to boost productivity; FSB's Martin McTague will be on the panel.
The Gatsby Foundation has launched a new business guide to different learning routes in England. The Education Landscape guide, which FSB supported in drafting, covers the benefits of linking up with local educational institutions as well as examples of small businesses that have benefitted from liaison with schools, colleges, and universities.
Government review into short-term tourist accommodation
The Government has announced a call for evidence aiming to understand the impact of an increase in short-term holiday lets in England, following the rise in use of rental booking websites and apps. The consultation, which runs until September 21 2022, is open to all parties, including hosts, online platforms, accommodation businesses and local authorities. To help inform FSB's response to the review, contact FSB Policy Advisor Rebecca Hyrslova with your thoughts on the issue, or participate directly here.
Finding your niche - webinar
FSB is running a webinar on 5 July, to help small businesses and entrepreneurs find their niche, to help them stand out from the competition and carve out a unique spot within their chosen area of trade.
FSB SUPPORT AND INFORMATION
- Our Sustainability Hub has everything you need to help you on your journey to net zero.
- If you are a UK business which trades with Europe, keep track of the latest changes and developments via FSB's Transition Hub.
- Our #BusinessWithoutBarriers hub on disability and health conditions has free guidance and resources to help small businesses make their workplaces more inclusive, and to help disabled entrepreneurs identify opportunities and support.
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