Business Shrink:
‘Business support’ quangoes are in for a shock. Buried deep in the footnotes of the recent Budget: the Government will… “reduce the number of business support services from around 3,000 now, to no more than 100 by 2010”. The Government is to focus on those agencies actually providing real return-on-investment – although that may be difficult, since previous research showed negative figures almost across the board. It’ll be interesting to see if the 100 are sector based. West Midlands Business Link county branches are already said to be winding down, ready for an amalgamation into a single West Midlands-wide office. But, as I said here a while ago, the whole Business Link brand should really be junked. The Confederation of British Industry chipped into the debate last week, revealing only a meagre 14 percent of firms use the service, and only 38 percent come away feeling satisfied. Nor can the parallel Small Business Service offer much of a replacement; having failed to meet almost all of its targets, and completely failed to deliver either the deregulation or SME growth it had promised.