“Competitiveness is not just a challenge for Government and for business. It requires a change in behaviour by us all; an openness to new ideas and a willingness to compare ourselves with the best in the world; to face up to how well we are doing and if the answer is not favourable, to do something about it.”
John Major. Creating the Enterprise Centre of Europe (1996)
Chapter 3 challenges the Competitiveness agenda driven by John Major and the Conservative Government and asks if it was really fit for purpose.
The resulting Business Link toolkit would remain relatively unchanged for the next twenty years. New initiatives would come and go, sometimes the names would change but essentially the package of support remained the same for small and medium sized businesses.
But a public financed national advisory service does not come cheap. In 2010, Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, Mark Prisk MP, confirmed the cost of employing and training Personal Business Advisers that year alone was £55.95 million.
Did Competitiveness really made a difference and deliver value for money?