Confidence amongst the self-employed has ‘fallen significantly’, FSB finds

Confidence amongst the self-employed has ‘fallen significantly’, FSB finds

Research carried out by the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) has suggested that confidence levels amongst the self-employed have ‘fallen significantly’ over the last year.

The FSB’s Small Business Index (SBI) for the UK’s self-employed community stood at +2.8 in the second quarter of this year – a significant fall when compared to the reading of +9.7 recorded in the first quarter of 2018.

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The SBI also revealed that 28% of UK sole traders expect their business performance to worsen over the next three months.

To help boost confidence amongst self-employed individuals, the FSB has launched a new ‘think self-employed’ agenda, which urges the government to secure a Brexit deal that ‘works for sole traders’.

Commenting on the matter, Mike Cherry, National Chairman of the FSB, said: ‘The UK’s self-employed community contributes more than £270 billion to the economy annually, yet they’re still treated as an afterthought by policymakers.

‘The self-employed need to be front of mind for Brexit negotiators. We must avoid a future scenario where our contractors have to fill out burdensome paperwork when completing jobs in Europe. Any Free Trade Agreements struck after 2020 need to include dedicated small business chapters to ensure firms of all sizes, including sole traders, benefit from new arrangements.’

FSB urges government to improve supply chain procedures

FSB urges government to improve supply chain procedures

A new report from the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) has revealed that many small firms which are in the supply chains of public sector projects suffer as a result of late payment.

The study suggests that 25% of small businesses in public supply chains have experienced late payment more than 50% of the time, while only 12% have been provided with the necessary skills to support them.

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The FSB has called on the government to introduce reforms to public procurement, in order to promote best practice and help ensure that large government suppliers pay on time.

According to FSB Chairman, Mike Cherry, recent market failures highlight the need to improve supply chain practices.

Mr Cherry commented: ‘Healthy supply chains are a win-win for businesses and tax payers as they create genuine competition, drive productivity, help close skills gaps and fuel economic growth’.

UK small firms ‘unprepared for business interruption’, FSB warns

UK small firms ‘unprepared for business interruption’, FSB warns

The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) has warned that the majority of UK small firms are ‘unprepared’ for disruption risks that internal and external threats pose.

Data published by the FSB revealed that 65% of small businesses do not currently have any plans in place to handle disruption risks to their firm or to their supply chains.

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Some of the most common risks to firms include customers who fail to pay for goods or services; the loss of key members of staff; cybercrime and its associated threats; and severe weather and transport issues.

The FSB has urged larger businesses to assist smaller firms with forward planning. It has also called on local governments and authorities to emphasise the need for small businesses to put continuity plans into place.

Commenting on the issue, Mike Cherry, National Chairman of the FSB, said: ‘Small businesses face a number of threats on a regular basis, and it is vital they are prepared to deal with them.

‘By implementing continuity plans, small firms can prepare for many of the sudden changes that can impact on them directly and their supply chains.

‘Given the likelihood that an enterprise will encounter some sort of business interruption issue more than once in their life, it is key to resilience that firms are encouraged to consider all risks that they could face.’

Business group calls on large firms to ‘lead the way’ in tackling late payment

The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) has urged large businesses to take immediate action to end the ‘culture of late payment, poor payment practice and supply chain bullying’.

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FSB National Chairman, Mike Cherry, has written to all FTSE100 companies, calling on them to work with small businesses in order to create a new payment culture.

According to FSB research, 84% of small firms have reported being paid late, with 33% revealing that at least a quarter of all payments are received later than agreed.

Furthermore, over a third report that their agreed terms of payment have been extended over the course of the last two years, which has had a significant impact on cash flow.

The call follows the recent release of the parliamentary report on the collapse of Carillion, which revealed serious problems relating to the payment of suppliers.

Commenting on the issue, Mr Cherry said: ‘The poor payment practices that run rampant through UK supply chains is a national disgrace with the country falling behind almost all other industrialised nations in our ability to pay small businesses on time’.

We can help with all aspects of running your business, including strategies to help improve cash flow. Please contact us for assistance.

‘Time running out’ for SMEs to prepare for introduction of GDPR, says FSB

‘Time running out’ for SMEs to prepare for introduction of GDPR, says FSB

With less than one month until the introduction of the new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) has warned small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) that time is running out for them to prepare.

The business group stated that small businesses face an ‘uphill challenge’ in ensuring that they are compliant by 25 May 2018 – the date from which the new regulation takes effect.

Under the new rules, organisations which collect, store and process individuals’ personal data will be subject to new obligations, with an increased emphasis on accountability and transparency.

The financial penalties for failing to comply are severe, with fines costing up to €20 million or up to 4% of total annual worldwide revenue, whichever is the greater.

The FSB has called on the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO), the regulatory body that will monitor firms’ compliance, to adopt an ‘understanding approach’ to GDPR enforcement.

‘As the GDPR deadline swiftly approaches, there is a real danger that many small businesses are yet to have adequately prepared for the changes,’ said Mike Cherry, National Chairman of the FSB.

‘Fortunately for these businesses, there is still time on the clock to start, or finish, their preparations.

‘The GDPR is the largest shake-up of data protection laws for years, and whether you are a personal trainer or a consultant, most businesses will have to implement changes to their current practices to make sure they are complying with the new rules.’

Further information on the GDPR can be found on the ICO website.

Confidence amongst small businesses is ‘rebounding’, says FSB

Confidence amongst small businesses is ‘rebounding’, says FSB

Confidence amongst UK small firms is ‘rebounding’, according to a survey carried out by the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB).

In the first quarter of 2018, the FSB’s Small Business Index (SBI), which monitors business confidence, stood at +6, up from -2.5 in the last quarter of 2017.

The SBI indicated that confidence amongst UK small businesses rose as a result of progress in regard to the government’s Brexit talks, and lower inflation levels.

32% of businesses surveyed believe that their performance will improve over the coming three months, whilst 40% predict that their performance will remain the same. 27% are ‘lacking in confidence’ in regard to the next quarter, the FSB found.

Meanwhile, 67% of firms reported that their revenues are either increasing or are stable, and 50% revealed that they plan to expand their business over the coming 12 months.

Commenting on the findings, Mike Cherry, National Chairman of the FSB, said: ‘After a 2017 dogged by spiralling prices and political uncertainty, it’s good to see small business confidence back in the black. The resilience of the small firms and self-employed entrepreneurs that make up 99% of UK businesses has lifted economic forecasts for the coming 12 months.’

2018 Spring Statement – the business reaction

2018 Spring Statement – the business reaction

Business groups have responded to Chancellor Philip Hammond’s Spring Statement speech.

The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) gave a broadly positive response, and welcomed the Chancellor’s commitment to tackling the issue of late payments to small firms. Mike Cherry, FSB National Chairman, stated: ‘The Chancellor is absolutely right to commit the government to eliminate the scourge of late payments, which place cruel financial pressure on more than eight out of ten small businesses.

‘The Chancellor explicitly put himself on the side of the UK’s millions of small businesses and self-employed.’

The response from the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC), however, was decidedly lukewarm. Commenting on the speech, Dr Adam Marshall, Director General of the BCC, said: ‘As deficit and debt levels improve, the Chancellor must resist calls to pour money into politically-attractive, short-term spending priorities.

‘A far stronger push is needed to fund and fix the fundamentals here in the UK over the coming months, and business wants the Chancellor to use his Autumn Budget to double down and spend to improve digital connectivity, deliver further road and rail improvements, strengthen the UK’s energy security and build more houses.’

Meanwhile, the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) praised the Chancellor for backing British businesses to ‘secure the UK’s future prosperity in a new economy’.

Rain Newton-Smith, Chief Economist at the CBI, said: ‘It’s great to see an upgrade in the state of our public finances, and rightly sensible to set more aside for a rainy day with Brexit uncertainty still weighing on the economy.

‘The CBI has long called for just one Budget in a year, creating more room for the government and business to get to work. But the Spring Statement is still important, and this one has proved more than welcome in setting the tone and vision for the country’s economic future.’