Small business confidence 'improving' say FSB
January 28, 2013
With the tinsel long since packed away and local businesses firmly back in the swing of things, it looks as though small firms are feeling positive for 2013.
A report recently released by the FSB found that small firms’ confidence has improved and that they want to grow and invest.
2012 was a real year of celebration with the Diamond Jubilee and the amazing achievements at the Olympics and Paralympics; let’s hope 2013 is a year of growth which we can all celebrate.
The Reading and West Berkshire committee have been busy already, most recently with two members attending the Skills Summit at Reading College on January 15.
It was hosted by the Local Strategic Partnership with the aim of driving forward action on key issues such as apprenticeships and work experience.
The benefits for a small business providing work experience places and apprenticeships are many but there is an image problem for apprenticeships in particular; many businesses find it difficult to understand what an apprenticeship is.
If you have considered providing a work experience placement or taking on an apprentice, maybe now is the time to look again at what’s on offer.
A skilled workforce is key to help our economy grow and the extension of the £1,500 grants available for taking on an apprentice makes this option more appealing for small firms.
The Government recently made a welcome announcement of an additional £30 million of funding for the Young Persons Start-up Loan, together with an increase in the age to which start-up business owners can apply.
It would be good to see the loans available to start-ups by all age groups as many older people are considering commencing a business following redundancy and their years of experience would be welcomed in the business community.
Red tape continues to be a concern for the year ahead, in particular the introduction of Real Time Information (RTI) for employers from April 2013.
RTI represents the biggest change in payroll legislation since PAYE was introduced 60 years ago. The new regulation will place a considerable additional compliance burden on employers and add to their costs. Worst still, HMRC will apply penalties for incorrect submissions.
Another move which is welcomed by the FSB is the recommendation by the Commission on Banking Standards that regulators are given more powers to force retail and investment banking divisions of banks to separate.
The ring fencing of the retail sector is vital to enable business funding availability to improve.
The FSB believes that trust and completion need to increase in the banking sector.
Locally, its schedule of networking events continues as last year with the Reading Curry Club on the last Tuesday of each month and the Newbury Curry Club on the second Monday.
The FSB has free Business Connections networking events on the first Wednesday of each month, the next is on February 6 at Newbury College. FSB members and nonmembers are welcome our events.
For more details about these and other events, see the full list online at www.fsb.org.uk/thamesvalley/events