COVID-19: THE LATEST
In England and Scotland, local lockdowns are in place in areas including Preston, while in Aberdeen restrictions have been lifted after several weeks of lockdown, meaning bars, pubs and cafes have started to trade once again. Following FSB campaigning, a local small business grant support scheme is now available.
In England, Scotland and Wales, nightclubs, dance halls and hostess bars are not permitted to reopen. However, all other venues - including hospitality, gyms, swimming pools and retail shops have now reopened.
From 1 October, business conferences and events as well as sports events in stadiums are expected to resume.
In Northern Ireland, soft play centres are still shut. Bars and private members clubs which do not serve food or do not have an outdoor space, and concert venues and theatres, are also still closed. They were due to reopen on 1 September, but this date been pushed back.
ADVICE AND OPPORTUNITIES
The #LoveYourLocalArches campaign culminates with #ArchDay2020 tomorrow. The aim of the initiative is to increase visibility of small businesses operating from railway arches within their communities in order to increase footfall. Free marketing packs are available for FSB members.
Furlough rule change
From this coming Tuesday 1 September, firms with furloughed staff will need to contribute to their wages - full details available on the government's website. The move will see the Treasury's wage contributions fall from 80 to 70 per cent. The scheme is set to end entirely on 31 October.
The Queen's Awards for Enterprise are for outstanding achievement by UK businesses in the categories of innovation, international trade, sustainable development and promoting opportunity through social mobility. The deadline to enter is 9 September.
FSB is hosting a webinar at 10am on this coming Thursday 3 September on the challenges and opportunities of doing business in Germany, one of FSB members' top three priority markets over the next three years. We'll hear from trade and investment experts, followed by a panel discussion with small business owners with real life experience of doing business in Germany. Be sure to sign up.
NEWS AND HIGHLIGHTS
Eat Out to Help Out
FSB is calling for Chancellor Rishi Sunak's Eat Out to Help Out scheme to be extended. FSB National Chair Mike Cherry LBC, TalkRadio and ITV this week that additional support is still needed for the hospitality sector, particularly as we head into winter and the New Year. FSB wants to see a one month extension to September, with the scheme also implemented beyond next month in areas impacted by local lockdowns. The scheme is due to end on Monday.
Digital skills resource
The new Make it Click small business hub, supported by FSB, offers an easy way for firms to boost their online and IT skills. It includes a wealth of free online learning resources to help business owners and their employees increase their digital knowhow and confidence.
POLITICS, PARLIAMENT AND FSB
- FSB continues to monitor what worked, what hasn't quite worked, and what will be needed for the critical months ahead as we begin to descend into autumn - in doing so, developing some key asks on behalf of our members which will be pushing to Government and MPs.
- Parliament is returning on 1 September, and we have sent MPs the first of our weekly digest series for the new session - focusing on issues regarding schemes to support and protect jobs; supporting high streets; pressure on small businesses as CJRS unwinds and so on.
- We have submitted written evidence to the BEIS Committee's big inquiry into the impact of Covid-19 on business and the UK Economy.
- We continue to work with DCMS on updating reopening guidance for soft play areas, so we can help business owners make their centres viable as they begin to open up again at reduced capacity. Issues such as square footage, ventilation and including the sector in the 5% VAT discount, were discussed.
- Party conference plans have been finalised, seeing FSB play a frontline role at all three party conferences in some shape or form - including business breakfasts and hosting fringes.
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