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
Small business confidence holding steady
Quarterly research from FSB into trading conditions for small businesses, the Small Business Index, found that small business confidence held more or less steady in Q2, while growth and hiring expectations were strong. However, rising input costs and a lack of appropriately skilled staff grew in prominence as barriers to growth. FSB National Chairman Mike Cherry said: “As England fully reopens, small businesses are, in the main, well-positioned to take full advantage of the opportunities on offer to them as the economy recovers.”
Better access to support and advice needed
A new FSB report into how business support advice was used by small firms during the pandemic finds that while it supported some, others were left with little assistance. Open for Business finds that current business support systems need to be strengthened if the Government is to fulfil the ambitions of the levelling-up agenda. FSB National Vice Chair Martin McTague said: “For too many [small businesses], knowing where to look, who to speak to and what to do leads to a dead end and that needs to change.”
Innovation Strategy launched
Yesterday (22 July), the Government launched its new Innovation Strategy, which will grow public investment in research and development to £22bn. The Government hopes the strategy will help progress towards goals including “tackling climate change and boosting productivity, to levelling up opportunities across the UK and supporting businesses out of the pandemic”.
Earlier in the week, the Government unveiled the Future Fund: Breakthrough scheme, offering investments in “high-growth, R&D intensive companies” which have raised at least £5m in previous funding rounds.
FSB’s summer campaign is asking supporters to share their #MyHiddenGems – small, independent tourism and hospitality businesses in their area which they think deserve wider recognition. To take part, just post an image or video on social media, using the hashtag, highlighting why you’re a fan.
Bounce-back loans and productivity events
FSB is running two free webinars next week: Get more done without getting busier or burnt out on Tuesday (27 July), and Bounce Back Loans – How to benefit from Pay As You Grow on Thursday (29 July), featuring representatives from the British Business Bank alongside FSB’s Martin McTague.
Role models survey
FSB and Innovate UK want to know who your business role models are, “to better understand how we can support the next generation of business leaders”. Fill in the short survey here.
Enter the Woman Who awards
Entries to the Woman Who Achieves & Solopreneur Awards, supported by FSB, close on 25 July, so there is still time to put yourself forward – be quick!
IP rights consultation
The Government has launched a public consultation on the IP exhaustion regime following the UK’s exit from the EU. The exhaustion regime underpins the rules on parallel imports and exports of goods such as non-region DVDs or non-UK editions of books. If this issue impacts your business, please send your views to [email protected].
Green trade report
The Department for International Trade has published a report on “the role free trade and free-market can play in accelerating the global transition to a low-carbon economy”.
Meanwhile, Bankers for NetZero has released a report, Mobilising SMEs for Climate Action, looking at how the UK’s 6m SMEs can be engaged and enabled in the “race to decarbonise Britain”.
Fake reviews and digital markets
The Government has opened a consultation, Reforming Competition and Consumer Policy, on new powers for the competition regulator, which among other objectives will aim to look at ways to crack down on fake reviews.
A separate consultation, A new pro-competition regime for digital markets, has also been launched, looking to “drive greater dynamism in our tech sector, empower consumers and drive growth across the economy”. The Government is keen to receive responses from small businesses which use online platforms operated by big companies to sell their products.
Simplified tax reporting on the way
Reforms due to come into effect in 2023 should simplify tax reporting for self-employed people and small businesses, the Government has said, with the goal of reducing the time spent filing taxes, and “aligning the way self-employed profits are taxed with other forms of income, such as property and investment income”.
Small businesses show their resilience
A report by Sky Connect into the resilience of small businesses over the pandemic found that 79% had adapted their business, while “over half have lent a helping hand to another business in need”.
Electricity bills explained
A research project from Imperial College is aiming to help smaller businesses understand and reduce their energy costs, by helping them “navigate the complex electricity billing structure amid rising energy charges”. Visit the UK Electricity Costs website to see your price per kWh, and how it compares to others in your area.
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