the Business Forum and
the Economic Partnership
in Brighton & Hove
Homepage    BCRP Intranet    Funding    Events    Knowledgebase    Links    About us     Contact us
Key projects



Workforce development 


Business &

Property &
Development sites




Consultation opportunities

Brighton & Hove Business Forum
8-11 Pavilion Buildings, Brighton, BN1 1EE
Tel: 01273 735442
Email: info@brighton

© Brighton & Hove
Business Forum

News - 29 January 2006
Ian McCafferty, CBI chief economic adviser

Business support isn’t doing what it should for business

The Government's business support network is failing to provide consistently high quality help and advice to new and growing firms, according to a report by the CBI released on 23 January.

The report claims that SMEs face a baffling array of conflicting, confusing and inconsistent quangoes, grants and agencies across the UK- including at least 2,650 schemes in England alone. Businesses, as a result, have turned away from the publicly-funded schemes because they do not know what help is available, do not trust the quality of advice on offer, or do not believe it will match their needs.

The cost to tax payers to provide this inadequate service is £8 billion a year. The Government's flagship agency, Business Link, for example, receives £140 million and is only used by one in seven firms (14%). And according to independent research, only 38% of those businesses, are satisfied with the general business information it imparts.

These findings are contained in the new CBI report - Improving Government Services For Small and Growing Businesses. It makes a series of recommendations including:

  • Streamlining the services and support schemes on offer to reduce confusion and free up resources to improve those which are effective and add value.
  • Filling a gap in the support network for small firms looking to grow.
  • Improving training for advisers, especially those lacking a business background, to offer a higher quality of advice, particularly for firms needing strategic advice rather than nuts-and-bolts help.
  • Ensuring any publicly-funded initiative reflects business demand and addresses a failure or gap in the existing market.
  • Pressing government departments to work with the Small Business Service to create an enterprise culture rather than resist it.
  • Regional Development Agencies must focus their resources on economic development and regeneration and ensure the business community is involved in development of regional policy.

Ian McCafferty, CBI chief economic adviser, said, "With UK levels of entrepreneurial activity stalling, and levels rising elsewhere in the world, it is more crucial than ever that government services help to deliver productivity gains for business.

"Quality business support is proven to boost survival and growth prospects so is essential to enabling an 'enterprise revolution.' However, there are too many overlapping, confusing and inconsistent schemes.

"Despite work to address the problem it is clear that much more progress needs to be made by government and the regional bodies who can work more closely with business.

"With £8 billion spent a year on services to small businesses they should be exemplary but this is not the case. Action is needed, not to reduce the budget, but to make sure it is effectively used."

Last August the CBI released its first report on the Small Business Service. It found red tape has increased since 2000, with businesses citing it as a major obstacle to growth and many businesses still finding it hard to access affordable or appropriate sources of capital.

Large regional discrepancies in business start-up rates exist and fewer people consider going into business now than in 2000, especially among woman, black or Asian entrepreneurs.

The number of new businesses operating at the beginning of 2004 increased by 0.3 million but at the same time those actually employing staff fell from 1.35m to 1.23m - reflecting, in part, concerns about employment legislation.

Read related items on:
McCafferty, Ian

Browse our business Knowledgebase or search by keyword


23 May 2018
Gingerman Restaurant Group to Open Restaurant at Hanningtons Estate Brighton
16 May 2018
Can you help us help rough sleepers? Search for a venue to provide shelter 15 May 2018
New Research Reveals Cost of Opening A Business in Brighton: £6,000 11 May 2018
Tech firm SaleCycle to open new office in Brighton, creating 30+ new jobs 4 May 2018
Get involved - National Numeracy Day This 16 May 1 May 2018
Barclays' High Growth & Entrepreneurs Awards 2018 launch to celebrate start-up leaders in the UK 30 April 2018
Barclays launches major drive to help SMEs tackle Cymbercrime 24 April 2018
An evening with Chris Fox, Lib Dem Peer 24 April 2018
"A triumph of innovation" 13 April 2018
Brighton city Centre Vacancy Rates continue to buck national trend 12 April 2018
The Ivy in the Lanes Set to open 2 May 2018 11 April 2018
Free Dr Bike Service Returns 20 March 2018
Brighton named most entrepreneurial city AND second best for student happiness according to Fresh Student Living 19 March 2018
A Meeting with Chris Fox, Lib Dem Peer - Why Business Matters 14 March 2018
Better Business for All Event with BEIS 7 March 2018
Brighton celebrates women in tech as Spring Forward festival returns for a fourth year 6 March 2018
Six months of success for BTN BikeShare 2 March 2018
Sustainability in Action masterclasses for Sussex businesses 2 March 2018
Doing Business in China comes to Brighton 1 March 2018
Brighton & Hove Chamber of Commerce presents: Protecting your brand- a guide for fast growth businesses 1 March 2018
Long haul passengers boost local economy and jobs, according to new Gatwick report on the 'Visitor Economy' 28 February 2018
Save time reporting crime 27 February 2018
Warren Morgan Resigns from Brighton & Hove City Council 23 February 2018
Brighton Technology Company, Paxton Ranks in Sunday Times 100 Best Companies to Work For 23 February 2018
Greater Brighton's Commercial Property Database 22 February 2018
SE-ASSIST - Launch of Loan Capital in Greater Brighton 19 February 2018
House Price update Q4 2017 19 February 2018
What would you do in a crisis? 19 February 2018
The investment journey for high growth entrepreneurs 9 February 2018
Make Change Count 2018 - helping rough sleepers in Brighton & Hove 8 February 2018
Brighton Technology Company Paxton Announces Recipients of New Scholarship Programmein Association with the University of Brighton 8 February 2018
Cyber London Accelerator Invites Summer 2018 Entries 8 February 2018
Innovate UK Launches Strand 2 Emerging and Enabling Technologies Sector Competition 8 February 2018
Success In Sussex As Food And Drink Heroes Crowned Winners 8 February 2018
UK Games Fund - Fourth Round Open to Applications 8 February 2018
Innovate UK & Prince's Trust Launch Young Innovators' Programme 6 February 2018
Brighton & Hove Food Partnership launches 'Kit Out The Kitchen' crowdfunding campaign 2 February 2018
Brighton & Hove Council and Crest Nicholson win £15m government funding to kickstart King Alfred project 1 February 2018
Could a Utilise Plus Programme grant help you?