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06 September 2019

Weekly Brief 36 - Friday 6 September 2019

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.

LATEST ADVICE & OPPORTUNITIES

Fresh £16 million fund for customs capacity building 

The Government has announced another round of funding to support businesses that train staff to make customs declarations, as well as those that advise others on trade. Its aim is to ensure that trade with EU countries continues to be as smooth as possible after Brexit when UK imports from, and exports to, the bloc will need to be declared. Find out more about the initiative here.

Latest guidance for EU citizens 

The Home Office has updated its advice for EU citizens arriving after Brexit. After the UK leaves the bloc, EU citizens who move to the UK will be able to apply for a 36 month temporary immigration status: European Temporary Leave to Remain (Euro TLR). More information is available here.

International trade reporting tool

A new online tool launched this week which allows British businesses to report issues preventing them from trading around the world. The move is designed to ensure the Department for International Trade is acting on barriers to selling overseas, including labelling restrictions, out-of-date regulations and licensing requirements. Access the tool here.

Business Moneyfacts Awards 

The Business Moneyfacts Awards is looking for feedback from UK-based small firms on commercial finance providers that they've dealt with over the last year. Complete a simple survey here for the chance to win a £150 Amazon voucher.

WE WANT TO HEAR FROM YOU

SBI survey

FSB's latest Small Business Index survey, for the third quarter of 2019 is now ready to be filled in. If you are a Big Voice member then check your emails to complete the survey. 

Overseas delivery issues 

Have you encountered delivery problems when sending goods to customers abroad? If so, we would be interested to hear from you. Please get in touch with Oliver Hateley.

Trading with Germany?

If you do business in Germany and have had issues registering for Value Added Tax for the purposes of selling goods in the country, Oliver Hateley would be interested to hear about your experiences. Any feedback would be hugely appreciated.   

THE SMALL BIZ WEEK IN REVIEW

Monday

At the start of the week, the Government implemented fresh steps to tackle late payments. New rules mean that big businesses with poor payment records will be excluded from Government contracts. FSB National Chairman Mike Cherry welcomed the measures, saying they send "a message that late payments will not be tolerated."

Elsewhere, the Government formally launched its "Get Ready for Brexit" campaign. FSB warned that actions - not just words - are needed to help prepare small firms for Brexit, reiterating its call for Brexit vouchers worth up to £3,000 to help small firms impacted by uncertainty.

Tuesday

Members of Parliament voted to take control of parliamentary proceedings in an attempt to stop a no-deal Brexit on 31 October. Commenting on developments, Mike Cherry stressed that, "whatever happens next, we need all politicians in the UK and EU to focus on getting a deal. This would protect the UK economy from a last-minute, cliff edge exit."

Wednesday

Ahead of Wednesday's Spending Review, FSB called on the Government to hire 85,000 new police officers to tackle the scourge of business crime. New figures from FSB find that around 50 per cent of small firms fall victim to crime each year. Read more about the proposals in the Telegraph.

Addressing the Commons as a one-year spending round was published, Chancellor Sajid Javid confirmed plans to hire 20,000 police officers, an additional £2 billion for Brexit preparedness and an additional £400 million to fund further education of 16-19 year olds. Mike Cherry said that the review was "a welcome - if brief - return to the domestic agenda," adding that it's "important to stress that what small firms really want is a return to an environment where they can plan for the long-term."

FSB's Head of Media Alan Soady was on talkRADIO to discuss the implications of the announcement, while Director of Communications Louise Stewart joined a panel of experts on Channel 5 News.

Meanwhile, FSB's Deputy Head of Public Affairs Ruby Peacock appeared on BBC Radio 4's Moneybox Live to discuss issues faced by women business owners. Listen to Ruby's appearance here.

Thursday

Following the tragic death of Natasha Ednan-Laperouse, the teenager who died after suffering an allergic reaction to a Pret a Manger baguette, the Government has unveiled stronger laws to protect allergy sufferers. The laws, which come into place in 2021, will require all foods that are prepacked for direct sale to have full ingredient labelling. FSB welcomed the measures, which allow small firms a two-year implementation period.

Elsewhere, Director of External Affairs and Advocacy Craig Beaumont appeared on the BBC World Service to discuss the potential impacts of a no-deal Brexit.

Friday

Louise Stewart appeared on BBC Radio Kent this morning to talk high streets and local regeneration. Listen back here. 

FROM THE CORRIDORS OF POWER

British Steel update

Following the news that Tata Steel's Orb plant in Newport is to close, Business Secretary Andrea Leadsom mentioned FSB in a written statement to the House of Commons. She stressed that efforts are continuing to finalise a sale of British Steel, with the Government working closely with the Official Receiver and preferred bidder. Leadsom thanked FSB for its contributions to the British Steel Support Group.

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