April 2018 Bulletin – Federation of Small Businesses






Issue 12 for April 2018 (issued April 5 2018)


FSB local team hold excellent meeting with MPs in Parliament

FSB members from across the Gloucestershire and West of England area had a chance to put forward a variety of issues and concerns facing SMEs when they met five local MPs at a special meeting in the Houses of Parliament. The 10 strong FSB team – which included members from Gloucester, Bristol, Cheltenham, Wiltshire, the Cotswolds and Weston-super-Mare – visited Parliament and enjoyed a frank, open and positive discussion with Richard Graham (Gloucester), Chris Skidmore (Kingswood), Sir Geoffrey Clifton-Brown (Cotswolds), Alex Chalk (Cheltenham) and David Drew (Stroud). Issues discussed included the skills crisis facing many small businesses, problems with the physical and digital infrastructure locally (road connectivity and mobile/broadband) plus late payments, apprenticeships, the rising cost of running a business and, inevitably, Brexit. Our thanks to all those MPs who were able to attend and also to those who had to send their apologies but had wanted to join us. To read more about the visit see our FSB South West Regional News item on this page.


Confidence rising among South West FSB members

Confidence among small business owners throughout  the South West is rising again according to our latest quarterly survey. The results of our latest poll shows confidence levels locally (and indeed across the UK) bouncing back after falling somewhat in 2017. The renewed confidence appears to have been fuelled due to a backdrop of lower inflation, progress on Brexit talks and elements within the Government’s Spring Statement. And, it is not only confidence that is rising. The proportion of firms planning to increase investment has hit a two-year high and half of the small businesses surveyed by us expect to expand operations over the coming 12 months. The survey also  shows small firms are continuing to hire – the proportion reporting a steady or increased headcount is at its highest since summer 2016 (82%). For more information see our regional news page here.


Supporting our major local business shows…

The FSB remains committed to supporting major local business shows which are a great way of bringing the local business community together. As a result, we will be promoting and attending a number of such shows in the coming weeks and will encourage our members to do the same. First, on Wednesday 18 April, we are actively involved in the Forest of Dean Enterprise Fair (for info email), then on Wednesday, 16 May, we will be supporting two massive shows:  the South West Business Showcase in Bristol and on the same day – and the day after it –  the Gloucestershire Business Show. In June 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.


FSB welcomes Chancellor’s determination to tackle late payment crisis

The FSB was broadly pleased and encouraged with the content of Chancellor Philip Hammond’s first new look, scaled-back Spring Statement. He addressed the need to end the scourge of late payments, announced a number of consultations on Value Added Tax and committed to more frequent business rates revaluations. FSB National Chairman Mike Cherry welcomed the Statement, saying that the Chancellor had “sent a clear message to UK boardrooms” about the need to end the late payment crisis. His comments were covered throughout the national media.


Follow us on Twitter and help us to help you…

The FSB’s Gloucestershire and West of England team have a very active and popular Twitter feed and we would welcome you to follow us at @FSBGlosandWoE for news about local FSB activity and events. We also have a region wide account at @FSBSouthWest which is well worth following as well. We are always pleased to help promote other events/initiatives that may be of interest to our members so make sure you tag us in your Tweets and we can then try to retweet items that will help our thousands of local small business owners.