Issue 2 for May 2017 (issued May 3)
This is a monthly briefing sent to valued stakeholders within the Gloucester and West of England region by the Federation of Small Businesses If you need more information please contact Sam Holliday FSB Development Manager (Sam.Holliday@fsb.org.uk or 07917 628915) @FSBGlosandWoE www.fsb.org.uk
FSB on General Election footing
FSB is now gearing up for the UK General Election on June 8, which provides a great opportunity for small business issues to be discussed by all political parties. One of our main aims will be to make sure that every political party is not subsumed solely by Brexit in this election campaign. There are a series of domestic issues that we believe the next Government must address – late payments, tax simplification, investment in local roads and broadband – which all need action early in its term. We will be producing an FSB small business manifesto to feed into the debate and will act as the voice of small businesses as the UK makes it choice in the coming weeks
Our Metro Mayor election work in the West of England
The FSB has been actively encouraging its members to take part in the Metro Mayor elections for the new West of England Combined Authority for Bath, Bristol and South Gloucestershire. We produced a short manifesto on the subject entitled ‘Back the 98%’ (based on the fact that 98.1 of the private sector firms in the West of England are small or micro ones) focussing on issues the Metro Mayor will influence including procurement, the skills agenda, transport and business rates. We were able to meet the majority of candidates standing for the office and were warmly received by all. We look forward to working with whoever is elected tomorrow (May 4) to further help the small business community.
FSB members have say on jobs/skills post-Brexit
FSB members have expressed concern about accessing people with the right skills and growing their business post-Brexit, according to our new report, ‘A skilful exit: What small firms want from Brexit’. Our survey shows that many businesses are now struggling to close the skills gap and fear the situation will get worse in the coming years. The report – which can be read in full here – calls for Government to guarantee, as soon as possible, the right to remain for EU citizens in the workforce and for the Government also to ensure small firms aren’t left battling layers of red tape to recruit the workers they need as immigration rules change.
Confidence is rising among South West FSB members
Small firms across the South West are feeling more confident despite facing spiralling business costs, according to the latest FSB quarterly Small Business Index (SBI). Confidence levels have increased significantly since the previous quarter and nationally and are now at their highest level in over a year. The recovery in confidence comes despite a surge in the cost of doing business. Three quarters (74%) of small firms across the region reported a rise in operating costs over the past quarter with fuel (36.8%) and labour costs (35.9%) cited most often as the main causes of this increase, with the exchange rate (26.9%) also frequently flagged. You can read the report here.
FSB encouraging members to supply to Hinkley Point C
The FSB does a lot of work locally to try to make it easier for our members and small businesses in general to supply to private and public sector organisations. We work closely with councils and other public sector bodies to encourage small firms in the procurement process as we believe local firms provide great service and there is clear evidence that more of the money spent by the public sector with SMEs stays within the local economy. We are currently working hard to raise awareness with our members about the prospect of becoming suppliers to Europe’s biggest infrastructure project: the Hinkley Point C nuclear programme. We are always happy to promote any procurement initiative launched locally.
Thank you for reading….