Record inflation levels
ONS figures released on 22 June show that the consumer prices index rose 9.1%, to a 40-year high, and producer price inflation rose 22.1%, to a record high. Responding to the news, Martin McTague, FSB National Chair, said: “The cost of living crisis starts with a cost of doing business crisis. Policymakers should act now to address rising consumer inflation at root, by taking pressure off the small firms that are doing all they can to absorb higher input, labour and energy costs, but can only absorb so much.” FSB would like to see VAT cuts, a business rates rethink, a reduction in National Insurance, and targeted fuel duty interventions to help small businesses and self-employed people.
Retail sales fall amid confidence crash
The ONS said that retail sales fell by 0.5% in May compared with April, primarily due to lower food sales due to cost of living concerns. Meanwhile, GfK’s long-running consumer confidence survey, whose results were published today, fell to its lowest level since its launch in 1974, prompting renewed fears of a coming recession.
Regulator to look at card fees
The Payment Systems Regulator has set out the details of its plans to review card fees. The PSR will use one review to look at scheme and processing fees, and another to analyse cross-border interchange fees. It is undertaking this work as its “card-acquiring market review found that the fees paid by acquirers had increased significantly from 2014 to 2018”, and the draft terms of reference for the reviews are open for consultation until 2 August.
Under 100 days left for paper £20 and £50 notes
The Bank of England is reminding people and businesses that any paper £20 and £50 notes they hold will have their status as legal tender withdrawn on 30 September, under 100 days from now. The Bank estimates that over 300 million paper £20s and £160 million paper £50s are still in circulation, worth over £14 billion.
Safety and Security easements
Four customs easements to Safety and Security (S&S) declarations will come into force on 1 July for EU and rest of world trade. The easements include the removal of S&S requirements on merchandise in baggage and on exported empty units. Find out more here.
Energy supplier market review
The National Audit Office’s report on the energy supplier market has found that energy regulator Ofgem “did not do enough in the years that preceded [the increase in wholesale prices in 2021] to ensure the energy supplier sector was resilient to external shocks”, heaping “significant” extra costs onto consumers and businesses following a string of insolvencies of energy providers.
FCA taking on scam sites
The Financial Conduct Authority has said it has updated its data strategy to allow it to act more swiftly against websites set up to scam people, while its actions against inappropriate financial advertisements have doubled over the past year.
Additional Russia sanctions
A new set of sanctions on trade with Russia has been announced.
Temporary staff and strikes
The Government has repealed restrictions on the use of temporary staff during strikes, with the changes due to come into effect in England, Scotland and Wales in coming weeks.
Making borders digital – survey
Members are invited to participate in a short Cabinet Office survey as part of the Government's work to make border documentation digital by default. Share your views on how digitalisation can make trading across borders easier here. The survey is open until 11 July.
Industrial Injuries Advisory Council vacancies
The Industrial Injuries Advisory Council is seeking six people to join its council, specifically: independent medical or scientific experts; members to represent the interests of employees; and members to represent the interests of employers.
Pubs Code consultation
The Government is looking into “the operation of the Pubs Code and the performance of the Pubs Code Adjudicator” via a consultation.
Next week, FSB is holding an interactive Q&A with Chief Medical Officer Professor Chris Whitty about Covid and small businesses on Monday (27 Jun); a session on maximising your FSB membership on Wednesday (29 Jun); and a networking event for ethnic minority-led businesses on Thursday (30 Jun).
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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