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Small business support service struggling

Tue, 06 Feb 2007 17:44:06 GMT

The government body assisting Britain's small businesses from Whitehall needs to "justify its existence", a report from the public accounts committee (PAC) has said.

The review of the Small Business Service (SBS) in October last year follows on from the decision by the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) to remove the executive status of the SBS last year.

However the report claims that the SBS has not fully tackled the "inherently complex" challenges faced by assisting small businesses across government departments and cites a "a number of shortcomings" in its involvement with government regulation.

PAC chairman Edward Leigh said that a slimmed down SBS needed to do what its predecessor never managed, "justify its existence".

He added: "Britain's small businesses are too important for our economy for them to waste time and money trying to understand where to get support and attempting to cut a way through the present forest of regulation."

Conservative shadow small business minister Mark Prisk said the government did not know what the "true cost" of red tape to small business was.

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