COVID-19: THE LATEST
For all the latest news and updates, visit our Covid-19 hub.
The Department of Health and Social Care has launched a toolkit for employers to help ensure employees get reliable information about COVID-19 vaccines.
Access the toolkit to get materials for you to run internal awareness campaigns, including key messages, posters, fact sheets and videos providing accurate, up-to-date information.
If you are a UK business which trades with Europe, keep track of the latest changes and developments via FSB's transition hub.
NEWS & OPPORTUNITIES
Net zero strategy launched
The Government’s strategies on Heat and Buildings and Net Zero received a cautious welcome from FSB, with our response pointing out that small businesses will need a lot more detail and certainty before they can implement their own plans. Mike Cherry, FSB National Chair, said: “The commitments in these documents mark a starting point – a foundation on which government can build the support measures small firms will need to achieve net zero. … Fundamentally though, where the net zero strategy is concerned, we have a 368-page document that contains only four specific mentions of small business, and two of those are in reference to smart meter statistics.”
Small businesses and sustainability
The British Business Bank has released a new report, Smaller businesses and the transition to net zero, which “highlights the crucial role smaller businesses can play in driving the changes required in the UK’s transition to a net zero economy”. Mike Cherry said: “What will really shift the dial is a combination of accessible information around ways to cut emissions, and save money, alongside incentives to invest in clean vehicles, insulation and microgeneration. Large businesses should also be helping small firms in their supply chains, not simply sending down demands or risk. Next week’s Budget is the Chancellor’s chance to make a real difference.” Our own FSB Small Business Virtual Conference: The Journey to Net Zero – a free event on 2 November – will also look at how smaller firms can play their part as we all move towards a more sustainable economy; sign up here.
Budget must support small businesses
Next Wednesday’s Budget is the Chancellor’s opportunity to reassure small businesses that the Government is on their side. FSB’s submission to the Spending Review highlights a range of policies and initiatives which the Government could adopt to help small businesses thrive – many of which would even save the public purse money. Look out on the day itself for our reaction, as we hope to see movement on issues such as an increase in the Employment Allowance, more business rates relief to support high streets, and an energy price cap for smaller firms.
Budget case studies needed
Do you have strong views on what should be in the Budget? How can Rishi Sunak help your business grow? If you would be willing to talk to the media about the impact the Budget will have on your business, please email [email protected].
New Zealand trade deal
The UK has signed a free trade deal with New Zealand, which the Government says will “cut red tape for businesses, end tariffs on UK exports and create new opportunities for tech and services companies, while making it easier for UK professionals to live and work in New Zealand.” Mike Cherry commented: "New Zealand has long been a priority market for UK’s small exporters – more than a quarter of which already sell there – and we welcome efforts to build on existing trade ties that go back many decades. The inclusion of a dedicated small business chapter within this deal is very welcome, and we look forward to working with DIT to help firms of all sizes maximise this opportunity, through the myriad ways FTAs can benefit their business."
International Trade Week
The Department for International Trade will host its first International Trade Week on 15-19 November. Events and training sessions will be held on a variety of topics, from customs skills to information on individual markets. FSB is hosting its own event on 17 November: Navigating global trade: Unlocking your international potential. Sign up to attend here.
Payment diversion fraud campaign
The National Economic Crime Centre is warning businesses of the dangers of payment diversion fraud, also known as business email compromise, which can leave victims tens of thousands of pounds out of pocket. It involves criminals impersonating others, creating or amending invoices and diverting payments to bank accounts under their own control. The NECC says: “Whenever you are making a payment to a supplier, or to your solicitor in the case of a house purchase, you should be highly suspicious of any change in account details or new instructions. Always check with a trusted known contact, and if you have any doubt do not transfer the money.” The NECC has a factsheet for businesses here.
Supporting high streets
FSB was mentioned numerous times by MPs during a debate on Tuesday on the importance of small businesses and high streets, with our views on the need for reform to the business rates system, the coming National Insurance rise, and staff shortages key topics of discussion. You can read the debate transcript here.
Late payment survey
The Small Business Commissioner is looking for views on late payment from small firms. Share your thoughts and experiences via this form.
Supporting and valuing disabled colleagues
FSB is holding a free webinar next Tuesday 26 October: Delivering Disability Equality Through Small Businesses. Learn which policies you can implement immediately within your business, workforce and planning processes to maximise opportunities for disabled people as valued colleagues and customers – sign up here.
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Big Voice is FSB's unique online research community for members. By responding to one of our surveys, members give us the evidence we need to engage with politicians around the world on the subjects that matter to you.