FSB Weekly Brief Newsletter – Friday 6 October 2023

News 6 Oct 2023

FSB represents its members at Conservative Party Conference in Manchester
FSB represented the UK’s small businesses and self-employed at the Conservative Party Conference held in Manchester this week. FSB was proud to host The Business Conversation, which is available to watch, in association with Conservative Home, with Dr. Liam Fox MP, former trade secretary, and FSB’s Tina McKenzie. Tina and the FSB team also spoke to cabinet ministers and the EU Ambassador to the UK, whilst FSB staff spoke on panels on topics including childcare and green skills.

Words must be met with action: small businesses react to Prime Minister’s speech
Whilst FSB welcomed Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s commitment to becoming the ‘party of small business’, during his speech at the party conference this week, it said this promise must be met with tangible actions that deliver for SMEs. Martin McTague, FSB’s national chair said: “The UK’s 5.5 million small business owners are a huge electoral force and will now want to see policies that drive small business growth in the Autumn Statement and into the next general election.”

Government takes step towards curbing late payments
The Government announced plans to tackle late payments to small businesses at the Conservative Party Conference this week, following extensive campaigning from FSB on the issue. FSB National Chair Martin McTague said: “Today's announcements mark the next step to tackling late payments, but we hope it's the prelude to more fundamental reform to come.” FSB’s report, Time is Money, recommends measures to curb late payments, including legislation to limit the maximum payment terms to small suppliers in law, and banning late payers from public procurement contracts.

Small business reaction to the cancelling of HS2 between Birmingham and Manchester
Reacting to the Government announcement that HS2 between Birmingham and Manchester is cancelled, FSB said that major multi-year, multi-Government projects like HS2 require a long-term, cross-party, multi-government approach, adding that improving east-west links across the north of England and the Midlands is absolutely vital, but so is connecting them into the national network, as would have happened by connecting Northern Powerhouse rail to HS2. The new projects need to be assessed for benefits on capacity and connectivity for both passengers and freight, to set them against what has been lost from HS2. Ultimately, the responsibility is now on the Government to prove that these new decisions will deliver value for money for taxpayers and make life easier for small business, it said.

Facebook scams targeting small firms
Which? is warning small business owners to be vigilant of fraudsters using Facebook to gain access to sensitive information. Scammers impersonating official Facebook and Meta pages are sending messages to small businesses claiming that their business’ account will be permanently deleted if they don’t act. The messages ask the user to click on a link that will take them to a web page where they can input their contact details to be captured by the scammers. If you see an account that may be fraudulent, you can report it to the National Cyber Security Centre, or contact Action Fraud if you’ve been the victim of a scam.         

Ban on single use plastics comes into effect
Small firms should check that they are complaint with the Government’s ban on single-use plastics for businesses in England, which came into effect on 1 October. The ban covers several widely used items such as plastic plates, trays, cutlery, and polystyrene products. Businesses that continue to supply or sell single use plastics to members of the public may incur a fine.

Shadow Northern Ireland Secretary Hillary Benn meets with FSB Northern Ireland
Shadow Secretary of State for Northern Ireland Hillary Benn met with Head of FSB Northern Ireland Roger Pollen in Belfast this week to discuss the first day of operation of the Windsor Framework. Other topics discussed included Northern Ireland’s post-Brexit status, and the importance of open and pragmatic dialogues to resolve any future issues.

Business Finance Week
The British Business Bank’s (BBB) Business Finance Week will be taking place 6-10 November. Through a series of events and webinars held across the UK, Business Finance Week intends to help small business owners learn about all the different finance options available to them to help to grow their business.

Is your small business up to scratch with health and safety posters?
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is reminding all small businesses that employ one or more members of staff to check they are displaying the correct health and safety information in the workplace. The information must be displayed on an approved health and safety poster or must be provided to each employee on an approved health and safety leaflet.

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