Nick Clegg’s plan could harm small businesses, and other news from the FSB

Flexible working plan could harm small firms
Nick Clegg announced plans this week to extend the right for employees to request flexible working patterns and for maternity leave to be shared between parents. The FSB went head to head with the Deputy Prime Minister live on Women’s Hour. Policy Chairman, Mike Cherry and Head of Media, Liesl Smith were also on BBC News channel, Sky News and ITV. Read the FSB’s comment and coverage in the Financial Times, Daily Telegraph, the Sun and on the BBC and Huffington Post.

FSB disappointed with BBA’s Chief Executive
The FSB issued a rapid response to City AM this week with concerns that the British Bankers Association (BBA) new Chief Executive, Anthony Browne is still debating stale arguments on small businesses’ access to finance. Following a comment piece by BBA, the FSB said that it is disappointed that this discussion hasn’t moved on and that it should be focusing on how to get funding to small firms through banks and non-bank channels. Read the FSB’s comment on Business Zone.

Lancashire County Council and funding circle
Lancashire County Council and Funding Circle have joined up to provide finance to businesses in the county. The FSB welcomed the move saying it is a good way to get alternative finance to small firms and that it could be replicated across the country. The FSB was live on BBC regional news. Read coverage in the Financial Times and Huffington Post.

Inflation rises in October
As inflation rose to 2.7 per cent in October, the FSB warned that with energy costs set to rise and potential increase in fuel duty, we are concerned about the pressure this will put on household and business finances. The FSB want the planned 3p fuel duty rise in January scrapped. Read the comment and coverage in the Guardian.

Parliamentary update
Cathy Jamieson MP raised our concerns over the impact of rising fuel costs during a debate on the cost of living. Planning Minister Nick Boles MP cited FSB figures on how businesses are held back by the planning system during the Committee Stage of the Growth and Infrastructure Bill. Richard Ottaway MP mentioned our support for his Private Member’s Bill on regulating scrap metal detailers, as it completed its Commons stages. Shadow Business Minister Chuka Umunna MP also mentioned our opposition to no-fault compensated dismissal and FSB support for boosting SME finance during a speech to Aston Business School.

Top 10 regulations
The European Commission is consulting on the most onerous regulations for small businesses and the FSB wants to feed your views in. Whether it is environment, health and safety or employment law that you find the most difficult, we would like to hear about it. The Commission will then analyse the ‘Top 10’ regulations to see how burdens on micros and SMEs can be reduced. We know it can be tricky to identify whether burdens originate from the UK or EU legislation so a topic or the specific regulation will suffice. Need ideas – more can be found here.

Red tape challenge

The Red Tape Challenge website gives businesses the opportunity to highlight regulations which they find to be particularly burdensome. You can use the website to draw attention to any general regulations but each month there is also a specific focus on certain areas of regulation. At the moment the focus is on business services and health living and social care. You can also send an email to highlight burdensome regulations.

Export week
UKTI has launched a free online service called Open to Export to provide small and medium-sized enterprises with information, advice and guidance on exporting overseas. The UKTI website also has information on international trade advisers in your region and grants for overseas trade fairs and trade missions.

Have your voice heard

The FSB survey panel is growing, but we want to hear from more of you to make sure we’re taking the issues that affect you to the heart of Government. Your views are discussed and debated with Ministers and used for FSB media work. Make sure that you have your say and join the survey panel today