SMEs to Grill MPs

SMEs to Grill MPs

Small firms will get the chance to question MPs face-to-face about business issues at two free events run by the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) next month. The Question Time-style events are open to businesses nationwide, and will be held in Bournemouth and Southampton on 10th and 11th September. The panel will include MPs from southern England from the three main political parties. Businesses which attend the events will be able to discuss the policies ahead of the general election, which could be called at any time within the next year. An FSB representative will be on hand at each event to voice the viewpoints of small-business owners. “We urge small firms to book their places now,” said FSB regional chairman, Ken Moon. “These evenings will provide a rare and uni... »

Retailers get Government Grants for Security

Retailers get Government Grants for Security

Small retailers can now apply for government grants to improve the security of their premises, following the launch of a Government campaign to tackle crime against small businesses. The £5 million fund has been launched as part of the Government’s Retail Crime Action Plan (RCAP). Individual grants of up to £3,000 are available to enable small retail businesses to buy security devices such as burglar alarms, security grills, UV markers to detect counterfeit bank notes and dye packs to mark valuable goods. Partnerships of small retailers can also bid for collective grants of up to £50,000 to help pay for equipment such as lighting or landscaping, which the Government hopes will help improve neighbourhood security and reduce the risk of crime. Funding is available to ... »

Government Must Help SMEs Cope with Swine Flu

Government Must Help SMEs Cope with Swine Flu

The Government must take steps to help small businesses through the swine flu pandemic as small businesses are likely to be disproportionately affected, the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) stressed this week. FSB national chairman, John Wright, said: “Swine flu is expected to have a serious impact on the UK, with a more than five per cent fall in UK GDP this year alone and up to half the population infected. Small firms, which contribute more than half of UK GDP, will be very badly hit. A small firm employing only three people could expect to have its entire workforce off for up to two weeks this autumn – either due to infection or absences as a result of school closures and transport problems. We want the Government to ease the burden on small firms so that businesses wit... »

High-speed Broadband should be available to all SMEs

High-speed Broadband should be available to all SMEs

The Government’s plans to make ‘minimum’ speed broadband available to all businesses by 2012, will leave many small firms with slow, inefficient Internet access, the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) has warned. Earlier this month, the Government announced in its Digital Britain White Paper that it will provide the infrastructure for all UK businesses to be able to access minimum speed broadband (2 Mbps) by 2012. FSB chairman, John Wright, said: “We welcome the Government’s commitment to ensure universal access to fast broadband, but our research shows that a third of small businesses already have 2Mbps broadband, yet struggle to do core, day-to-day business activities,” “More than half of small businesses rely on the Internet for up to 50% of t... »

FSB to dish out ASBOs to chronic late payers

Companies that repeatedly fail to pay their small-business suppliers on time are to be publicly named and shamed under plans announced by the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB), writes Kate Horstead. After lobbying for stronger late payment legislation in the April Budget produced no response from the Chancellor, the business group is resorting to what it calls “a form of anti-social behaviour order” (ASBO) in a bid to shame the worst payers into settling their bills. March figures from payment tracking firm Bacs showed that small firms are owed a mammoth £25.9 billion in outstanding payments. According to the Credit Management Research Centre, some of the UK’s biggest firms take more than 100 days to pay suppliers, compared to standard terms of 30 days. “We... »

Government has not done enough to help flood-damaged firms

The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) has criticised the Government for not doing enough to help the 9,000 businesses damaged in last summer’s floods. Despite the Government’s provision of an £11 million fund to help businesses recover from the flooding, the FSB has expressed concern that small firms did not receive enough financial support or guidance to help them get back on their feet. “Although the £11 million is of course welcome, we felt that it was not enough, so we stepped in to offer assistance to flood–hit businesses,” said FSB spokesman Simon Briault. “We set up a fund to offer our members interest–free loans of up to £5,000 to help get back on their feet” “Government agencies also need to do better when ... »

Employers told to pay up for Music

Listening to music at work may soon become a thing of the past… It is estimated that more than half a million businesses across the UK are playing music illegally. But many of them don’t even know it. By law, whenever music is played publicly (that’s considered to be anywhere outside the home) a license is needed. It doesn’t matter whether it’s played on a radio, cd or mp3, or who’s listening. In the case of businesses, whether staff or customers can hear it, you still need a license. The Performing Right Society (PRS) takes the money and pays it to the artist. That’s because under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 if you use copyright music in public, you need to have permission from every writer or composer. Without a license you could ... »

A Third of SMEs Waste Money on Business Trips

A third of small firms are wasting money on staff business trips by failing to shop around for the best deals on travel and accommodation, event management firm BSI has warned. The research from BSI revealed that 33 per cent of small firms do not negotiate the best rates they can on staff business trips, and 48 per cent do not set employees a budget for accommodation. “Our research shows that, due to limited understanding, apathy or misconceptions, a large number of SMEs are not following best practice procurement when buying and booking overnight accommodation, meetings and events, a fact that is likely to be causing them to waste significant time and money,” said BSI managing director Trevor Elswood. “With margins tightening, SMEs are facing even greater budgetary and r... »

New Guidance to Cut Workplace Stress

A new guide to managing workplace stress offers managers a checklist to determine whether their behaviour is increasing or relieving employee tension. Line management behaviour and stress, published jointly by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) and the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), lists a range of management approaches that are likely to influence stress levels among employees. By saying whether the approach is positive or negative, the guide aims to help managers work out what effect their behaviour scenarios might be having on their employees. For example, acting as a mediator in conflicts is considered positive; simply keeping the peace is labelled negative â?? because it can lead to stress. Stress is the leading cause of long-term absence for non-manual w... »

FSB Budget Submission

Budget 2008 Stirs FSB

The Federation of Small Business has published its Budget Submission ahead of the 2008 Budget next week. »

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