FSB Newsletter: Friday 18 September 2020

News 18 Sep 2020

COVID-19: THE LATEST 

For the latest announcements, see our Covid hub.

England
The Government's new -rule of six' came into force this week, meaning groups will not be permitted to meet in numbers larger than six. This applies to people of all ages in indoor and outdoor settings, including homes, gardens, pubs, restaurants and bars.

Meanwhile, local lockdowns are in place in a number of regions.

And new COVID-19 secure regulations are coming in to law for hospitality, close contact services, leisure businesses and others today. Failure to comply with the new obligations could result in fines of between £1,000 and £4,000.

Scotland
The rule of six has been imposed for indoor and outdoor settings, but children under 12 are exempt and the limit applies to people from two households.

Wales
Children under the age of 11 are exempt from the rule of six and it applies to indoor settings only.  

Caerphilly is also under a local lockdown.

Northern Ireland
The rule of six does not apply, but lockdowns have been imposed in Ballymena town and Belfast. People in Postcode areas BT43, BT28 and BT29 have been advised not to make non-essential journeys outside these areas.

ADVICE AND OPPORTUNITIES

Digital Leaders Week

Leaders in the UK's digital marketplace for ideas, initiatives and services are being asked to register for 2020 Digital Leaders Week. This will be a chance to learn about digital transformation in the UK. It will take place online between 12 and 16 October. Registration is essential.

Pensions update
At the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, the Pensions Regulator extended the maximum period defined contribution pensions scheme had to report late contribution payments from 90 to 150 days. This gave struggling employers more time to work with pension providers. From 1 January 2021, the schemes and providers will be asked to resume reporting late contribution payments no later than 90 days after the due date, and will become mandatory by 1 April 2020.

Pension scams are on the increase in the UK, with fraudsters using sophisticated tactics. Scammers cold contact people by phone, e-mail or text, which is illegal. Learn more about how to keep yourself safe and protect your pensions savings.

Immigration System
FSB is hosting a webinar on the UK's new immigration system on Tuesday 29 September at 10am. FSB will be joined by officials from the Home Office who will outline the changes, what businesses need to do to prepare and how the changes will affect small businesses. Registration is essential.

NEWS AND HIGHLIGHTS 

Managing risks
FSB National Chairman Mike Cherry spoke to the Guardian about how businesses can manage risks at times of global crisis. He said the last six months have left businesses in a "fragile" state and have highlighted the importance of future-proofing. He stressed the need to have clear timescales for IT updates and secure relevant business insurance.   

Partial victory in FCA case
Small firms forced to close during the Covid-19 pandemic should now receive business interruption insurance pay-outs following a High Court judgement in a test case brought by the Financial Conduct Authority. FSB National Chairman Mike Cherry told the Telegraph that the "ruling marks a big step forward but is only a partial victory" as it leaves many with little certainty.      

Furlough scheme wind down
Following the release of the latest employment statistics, FSB Policy Director Sonali Parekh discussed with LBC what small businesses would like to see when the furlough scheme ends in October. She urged the Government to look at options, including creating an "adapted version" of furloughing.

Lockdown challenges
Speaking to The Times at the beginning of the week, FSB National Chairman Mike Cherry mapped out the challenges the challenges posed by local lockdowns. He argues that "we need to see a successor to the job retention scheme and stimulus measures like Eat Out to Help Out, cuts to VAT and cost reductions that can help in hard-hit areas."

POLITICS, PARLIAMENT AND FSB

We spoke with MPs prior to Caroline Lucas MP's general debate on support for the self-employed and freelancers.

We liaised with Her Majesty's Government and opposition front benches resulting in the Shadow Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury Wes Streeting MP referring to us as "experts in the field" during debate.

We have being making final touches to the FSB's planned presence at all three virtual party conferences in the run up to the traditional conference season.  It is going to be very different to the usual conference season, but we have an interesting and broad programme of events to engage stakeholders.

We have been in close discussions with Her Majesty's Treasury and the DWP about what happens after furlough.  Discussions are ongoing as the public health picture regarding Covid-19 remains fluid.  We will continue to emphasise the necessity for Government to support small businesses and the self-employed.

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