May 2018 Bulletin – Federation of Small Businesses

Issue 13 for May 2018 (issued 8 May 2018)


FSB team meet local bank chiefs

The FSB’s Gloucestershire and West of England team held another of their regular meetings with senior regional bank officials on Friday to discuss a number of important banking issues that affect our members. Chaired again by Sir Geoffrey Clifton-Brown, the MP for the Cotswolds, the meeting focused on a number of issues including bank closures, SME relationships with local banks, access to finance and the reduction in ATMs available for people to use. We also put forward many points raised (anonymously) to us by number of our  members and a good, open exchange of views resulted. We hope to repeat the meeting later in the year where we will once again invite local members to submit issues they feel our regional banks needs to be aware of.


Warning to supermarkets not to squeeze suppliers

The FSB has watched with interest the recent developments in the supermarket industry and have called upon Sainsbury’s and Asda to assure small suppliers that there won’t be a squeeze on prices as a result of their merger proposals. The deal, which is still subject to a probe from the Competition and Markets Authority, has raised concerns that smaller businesses may be forced into accepting unfair contracts and late payments. To read our comments on the issue see here.


FSB keen to support new local partnership groups

The FSB is always keen to be involved with initiatives and local partnerships to help small businesses in their communities and we have signed up to be part of a new public/private partnership called the Forest Economic Partnership (FEP) in the Forest of Dean. The council-backed organisation has been set up to be a forum for local businesses and others to discuss issues such as education and skills, transport and infrastructure, digital connectivity and the opportunities presented by the Severn Bridge toll charge cancellation. We are always keen to support such groups and if you know of any other such partnerships throughout Gloucestershire and the West of England we should be involved with please contact


Doing our best to help apprenticeship drive

We are very committed to supporting the drive to encourage more people to take on apprenticeships and for more SMEs to follow this recruitment route. As such, the FSB nationally were disappointed at the recent figures showing a 16 per cent drop in the number of 19 year olds starting apprenticeships. You can read the comments of our national chairman about this at this link. Locally we have worked with colleges and groups in South Gloucestershire, Gloucester, Bristol Weston-super-Mare, Cirencester, Bath and more to highlight this issue and will continue to do so as part of our determination to halt the growing skills crisis which the apprenticeship programme could help to prevent.


FSB happy to back major local shows

The FSB will be fully active next week to help showcase some of the exciting work done by local SME businesses in our region at the two biggest business shows in the area this year. On Wednesday, 16 May, we will be present at  the huge South West Business Showcase in Bristol which is set to attract around 5,000 local SMEs and on the same day – and the day after it –  we will also be at the high-profile Gloucestershire Business Show which is seen as the ‘hub’ for the county’s business scene. Looking ahead we will also be helping to promote and support the South Gloucestershire Expo on Wednesday, 6 June, and then the Grow Gloucestershire Show on Wednesday, 20 June. All of these events help show what an amazing area this is to do business in….