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17 November 2017

Weekly Brief 47 – Friday 17 November 2017

A wrap of the week’s small business news from FSB’s Westminster Press, Policy and Public Affairs Office. To sign-up for Weekly Brief emails, please use this link

LISTEN: #FSBTalk Budget briefing
What could be in the upcoming Budget for small businesses? FSB explores the options for Chancellor Phillip Hammond ahead of his statement on Wednesday 22 November. Listen to this #FSBTalk podcast featuring expert opinion from FSB and insights from Nicky Morgan, Chair of the Treasury Committee.

Warning over VAT change
New FSB research shows small businesses across the UK are spending a working week every year complying with their Value Added Tax (VAT) obligations. It highlights that VAT is the most time-consuming tax to deal with. FSB is warning that any moves to lower the VAT threshold at the Budget would drain small firms of time and money. This gained coverage in the Daily Mail, The Times and on the front page of the Financial Times
#FSBChat brings together women in enterprise
Leading entrepreneurs Martha Lane Fox and Sherry Coutu joined forces with FSB to host a Twitter chat on women in enterprise this week. Marking the start of Global Entrepreneurship Week, the chat featured insights from a panel of inspirational women in business and was joined by female entrepreneurs from across the UK. If you missed it, catch up by viewing our Storify.

Support needed for small housebuilders
As outlined in The Times, FSB is calling on the Chancellor to spark a small housebuilders boom in the Budget to help solve the UK’s housing crisis. It follows recent figures showing the proportion of new homes built by small housebuilders has fallen to just one in eight. Read National Chairman Mike Cherry’s comments.

Are you a small business in housebuilding or construction?
FSB runs the secretariat for the APPG for Small and Micro Businesses in Parliament. The APPG would like to hear from small housebuilders about their experiences and challenges. If you’d be interested in sharing your views in Parliament on either Tuesday 5 December or Tuesday 9 January, please email Jessica Smith.

Clearing the air
A new report from FSB warns that future air quality proposals risk disproportionately hitting small firms, unless they are implemented fairly. ‘Clearing the Air’ finds that policies such as Clean Air Zones in England have the potential to hit up to 1.5 million small businesses and self-employed. It calls for greater support for small firms to mitigate the impact.

Inflation remains high
Latest ONS figures show the Consumer Prices Index (CPI) remained at 3% for October and the Retail Prices Index (RPI) rose to 4%. Mike Cherry called for help with rising costs at the Budget, saying “The Chancellor needs to show his support for the UK’s small firms next week as they battle rising costs and flagging consumer demand.”

Confidence survey - check your inbox now
Our latest quarterly survey on small business confidence is now live. If you're a member of Big Voice, check your email to take part. Otherwise you can sign up to Big Voice here. FSB uses the Small Business Index to make the case directly to leading politicians and other policymakers about what small businesses need. 

Parliamentary Mentions
On Wednesday, Martin McTague, FSB National Policy Director, appeared before the Treasury Select Committee to give Oral Evidence on its inquiry into the UK's economic relationship with the European Union.

On Thursday, FSB was mentioned in an answer to a written question by Bill Esterson MP, Shadow Minister for Small Business, who asked ‘what representations he has received from business organisations on support for small businesses after the UK leaves the EU?’ Margot James, Small Business Minister answered ‘the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy regularly engages with a number of business organisations on a wide range of issues, such as the Federation of Small Businesses.’

Debate: terrorism insurance
Following our recent report on improving the resilience of small firms to terrorism, FSB will be debating the future of terrorism insurance with representatives from government and industry. FSB has called for the government to change the law so that businesses can insure themselves against “non-damage business disruption” in the event of a terrorist attack. The event is being hosted by law firm Mills & Reeve. If you would like to attend the event for free in London, you can register here.

Trouble with online trading platforms?
The EU is considering action against online platforms engaging in unfair trading practices. Have you had a negative experience with a platform that you use as part of your business? We’re particularly interested in hearing from businesses affected by sudden T&C changes, delisting, changes to payment terms, loss of access to data, or opaque search ranking methods. If you have views to share, get in touch with James Sibley.

DFE seek businesses to trial new work placement for young people
The Challenge is working with the Department for Education to pilot a new model for work placements, offering college students a meaningful 40-60 day work placement to test their technical skills in the workplace. DfE is looking for small businesses in London, Shrewsbury and Shropshire, Greater Manchester and Lancashire in technical sectors, including digital and construction, to trial these placements. Please email Annie Peate for more information.