Issue 19 for November 2018 (issued November 5 2018)
FSB welcomes ‘pro-small business’ Budget
The FSB has broadly welcomed the measures outlined in Chancellor Philip Hammond’s Budget last Monday which our national chairman Mike Cherry has described as “the most small-business-friendly budget this Chancellor has delivered”. We were supportive of the measures in several areas of tax, expenditure and public policy that were specifically targeted at helping the UK’s small business community. The items the FSB particularly appreciated were the £900m of business rates support for small businesses on the high street; the freeze of the current VAT threshold for two years; the protection of the Employment Allowance which will now be focused on small employers to knock £3,000 off their National Insurance Bill; a reduction in the contribution of small companies to apprenticeship levy from 10 per cent to 5 per cent; and a new pilot scheme to fund training for the self-employed that FSB will be taking part in. You can read the FSB’s official national reaction here and to see our local thoughts you can read this Punchline magazine Budget overview at Punchline Budget Special. .
Positive response to our ‘business friendly’ local council search contest
We were delighted to see that we had a lot of very good entries from local councils within the Gloucestershire and the West of England area to our first ever competition to find our most ‘small business friendly’ local authorities. There are three awards on offer – Most Innovative Small Business Project, Best Small Business Support Programme and overall Small Business Friendly Council – and having judged the awards we can confirm we will be awarding winners and highly commended certificates in all three categories. The awards lunch is on Friday, 30 November, at Gloucester Rugby Club, and we will let you know who won what in our next monthly bulletin.
Our high street focus continues….
The news in the Budget of £1.5bn to support our High Streets was very welcome and ties in to the FSB’s ongoing ‘Keep Trade Local’ campaign and our new High Streets Hub portal to back our retail members. To see first-hand the issues facing our retailers, the FSB’s senior elected official – National Chairman Mike Cherry – visited Bristol recently as part of a wider South-West tour. Along with Bristol FSB Area Lead Ken Simpson and South West FSB National Councillor Terry Lockwood he met Bristol members Heather Barclay (Country Studio Framing) and Joe Wheatcroft (Source Food) and heard some of the issues facing our members in the retail/high street sector. Along with FSB Gloucestershire Area Lead Russell Warner we also visited high street traders in the Stonehouse area to hear about their concerns which mirrored many in Bristol included rising rents, high utility bills, the shortage of available staff, parking for customers and the difficulties of competing in an online-driven world. It is an issue we will continue to focus on.
New late payment measures are welcomed
The FSB has welcomed a recently-announced package of measures to safeguard small firms from the curse of late payments. Late payments are a massive issue for small businesses with a recent FSB report revealing that 37 per cent of our members have run into cash flow problems because of late payments and less than four in ten bigger businesses regularly pay SMEs on time. The news that central government has said it will pay 90 per cent of undisputed invoices from SMEs within five days is therefore seen as an important statement. You can read the FSB report on late payments here.
Renishaw, water2business and Wales & West Utilities back FSB Awards
We are delighted that three excellent local-facing companies – Gloucestershire’s Renishaw, water2business from Nailsea in Bristol and also Wales and West Utilities who provide gas distribution services for our area – have stepped in a sponsors of the FSB ‘Celebrating Small Business’ Awards for the South West. The free-to-enter awards are open to FSB member and non-members alike (please refer interested businesses you may know to our website here) and if you, or any organisations you may know, would like to consider being a sponsor to show support for small businesses and sole traders throughout the South West then please email Sam Holliday.