#SBI2017 Confidence among small firms has risen to the highest level in over a year despite spiralling business costs, according to FSB’s Q1 2017 Small Business Index (SBI). The strong recovery has been spurred by increased international trade. At the same time, a net balance of 64.5% of small firms report an increase in operating costs, the highest proportion since the summer of 2013. This gained coverage in the Daily Express, City AM, The Sun, The Times, The i newspaper, Reuters, BBC Online and BBC News Channel. FSB’s next SBI is now out in the field. As a Big Voice member you can have your say, helping us make the case directly to politicians and other policymakers about what small businesses need. Corbyn speaks to FSB This week FSB hosted the Leader of The Opposition, Jeremy Corbyn, who laid out his pitch to small businesses. The Labour leader promised to exempt the smallest firms from quarterly tax rises, to crack down on late payment from larger businesses, and said that he would not raise small business corporation tax rates. The Labour leader’s overture to small business was widely covered and you can read our reaction online. Lower Thames Crossing route revealed FSB welcomed this week’s decision by Transport Secretary Chris Grayling on the location of a new crossing under the Thames Estuary. It brings to an end long-running uncertainty over the project, which aims to bring much-needed relief to the congested road network in the South East and London. Has your business been a victim of a bank transfer scam? FSB has received growing anecdotal evidence that scammers have been de-frauding small businesses through tricking them into transferring money to fake bank accounts. Has your business been a victim of such a scam? If so, FSB is keen to hear about your experience. We need additional evidence of the impact on small businesses in order to ask the Government and banks to take stronger action against fraudsters. Please email your story to either Ben Baruch or Richard Hyde. FSB eCommerce virtual steering group to support EU lobbying Do you trade online with EU member states? Are you interested in helping FSB to craft our policy response on what happens to EU related digital regulation? FSB Foreign Office and EU Chairman Ken Moon would like to invite members to join a virtual group being set up to support our work in this area. If you’re interested, please contact David Geary or Tanja Siggs. Have your say – Industrial Strategy FSB is encouraging all small business owners to chip in with their views on the Industrial Strategy before the consultation closes on April 17. This is the Government’s plan for driving local economic growth and productivity. Read our initial press release and have your say by responding here. Join Big Voice and get your business heard Big Voice is FSB's unique, online research community and it's free for members to join. By commenting or responding to one of FSB's surveys, members give us the evidence we need to take to politicians at all levels, across the UK and in Brussels on the topics that really matter to them. Join for free and start making sure your voice is heard. You may also like 17 November 2017 Weekly Brief 47 – Friday 17 November 2017 16 November 2017 Grand Designs of Perthshire member John Langley 10 November 2017 Weekly Brief 46 – Friday 10 November 2017 19 June 2017 Business leaders join forces to urge Government to ‘put economy first’ as Brexit talks begin 27 February 2017 Scotland’s local self-employment gap reveals country’s start-up challenge 15 July 2016 What’s The Big Deal?