“If we do not act now, jobs will be lost, our country will become poorer and we will find it difficult to afford the public services we all want. If we do not wake up to the world around us, our standard of living will fall, not rise. We cannot go on like this.”
Dr Vince Cable. Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills
George Osborne MP, Chancellor of the Exchequer (2011)
In May 2010, the Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition was formed. The new Administration immediately declared their intent to reduce the threat of budget deficit by putting responsibility for business growth firmly at the door of private enterprise.
In a remarkable circle of events, Prime Minister David Cameron appointed Lord Heseltine, founder of Business Link, to Chair the Independent Advisory Panel assessing project proposals for the new £1.4 billion Regional Growth Fund (RGF). Chapter 14 examines the returns promised by the winners of RGF funding. For perspective, this investment is equivalent to financing Business Link operations for a decade, engaging six million small and medium sized businesses.
An assessment is completed on how the new Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEP) took over the role of Regional Development Agencies.
In the face of unprecedented trading conditions and an ideological assault from the incumbent coalition Government, Business Link’s time was up. Chapter 14 explains how and why the Business Link advisory service was discredited and disbanded.