Skip To The Main Content
01 December 2017

Weekly Brief 49 – Friday 1 December 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.  
Industrial Strategy is first piece of productivity jigsaw
After the publication of the Government's Industrial Strategy white paper on Monday, Mike Cherry, Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) National Chairman, said although it marked the first phase of the journey to improved productivity, it's essential we quickly move to phase two. "To have a sustained and game-changing impact on the economy, the focus needs to be on how to improve productivity across the UK's small businesses and the self-employed," he added.
Click here to read our full reaction, looking at the impact on policy areas including skills and infrastructure, business support and clean growth.

Record number of small firms in UK 
The UK's small businesses contributed a huge £1.9 trillion to the economy this year, according to new Government figures. The latest business population statistics from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, show there's now a record 5.7 million smaller businesses in the UK, proving that despite rising costs and flagging consumer demand, entrepreneurial spirit is not easily shaken. 

Mike Cherry took the opportunity to urge people to get out this weekend to support local firms, which have such a big impact on the economy, on Small Business Saturday (December 2). The annual campaign, which shines a light on the diverse range of brilliant small firms across the country, is now in its fifth year. 

More bank branch closures announced
Support is needed for small firms impacted by further Royal Bank Scotland and Natwest bank branch closures, announced this week. Although many businesses do use online banking, branches offering in-person support are still vital to local economies across the country. "What we can't have is banks shutting branches on a whim, especially at a time when plans are afoot that may diminish our cash machine network in future," said Mike Cherry, whose comments were picked up in The Telegraph. Adding further comment about proposals that could close a number of free-to-use cash machines across the country, he added: "Reducing incentives for ATM operators to offer cash machines could stop small businesses being able to provide this vital public service." 

Clear moral and business case for action on disability employment
Following the release of the Government's strategy on work, health and disability, Mike Cherry emphasised that scrapping the National Insurance charged on the first year of employing somebody with a disability or mental health condition is crucial. "Nine out of 10 people starting work after being unemployed do so with a smaller business or by setting up on their own - this must be front and centre in any strategy to increase disability employment," he said. 

New trade commissioner roles up for grabs
The Department for International Trade (DIT) is recruiting for a new team of trade commissioners to represent the UK in key markets across the world. Her Britannic Majesty's Trade Commissioners will head the global operations of DIT, leading on export promotion, inward and outward direct investment, and trade policy overseas on behalf of the UK government, covering nine geographical areas. Click here for more information.

What is your Companies House experience? 
A member has raised some issues with their dealings with Companies House, and FSB is keen to hear from other members to see if this is broader problem. We're interested to know if you-ve faced any issues, i.e. delays, problems or costs that have led to negative impacts on your business. If you have such an experience with Companies House which impacted your business, please contact FSB Policy Advisor Richard Hyde.
Join Big Voice and get your business heard
Big Voice is FSB's unique, online research community and it's free for members to join. By commenting or responding to one of FSB's surveys, members give us the evidence we need to take to politicians at all levels, across the UK and in Brussels on the topics that really matter to them. Join for free and start making sure your voice is heard.