How Can The UK Government Best Help Small Businesses?


Business Link

Business Link is a Government agency that offers advice and guidance to small businesses in England. Business Link offers support to small businesses through two main avenues: an online portal and through local advisors that are supported by a national helpline.

Michael Heseltine devised the concept for Business Link in 1992 as the then President of the Board of Trade. The aim of Business Link was to offer a one-stop shop for help, services and guidance for small businesses; with the aim of reducing the mortality rate of business start-ups.

It emerged last week, however, that the same party who began Business Link, are now looking at scrapping the service should they come in to power.

Last week, Mark Prisk, Shadow Minister for Business and Enterprise, revealed that, should the Conservatives win the forthcoming election, they will look at stopping the £190m a year Business Link service.

Prisk maintains that the money currently spent on Business Link would be better spent in other ways to help small businesses. He goes on to argue that should the Conservatives come to power, rather than telling small business owners how to run their firms, they should instead focus on creating the right environment for small businesses to flourish.

With local Enterprise Agencies in line to replace the current Business Link service, Prisk endeavours to make it easier for people to work for themselves by, for example, providing a weekly allowance for would be entrepreneurs to help get their business off the ground, simplifying the tax system and abolishing the clauses in housing association tenancy agreements that prevent tenants from starting their own business.

Whether these measures are there to deter from the cost-cutting measure of scrapping the Business Link service remains to be seen, but there is no doubt that small businesses need more support- there may be very exciting times ahead.

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