Government winds down the Business Growth Service
The Government’s Business Growth Service (BGS) is to close by April 2016. The popular service, which includes the Manufacturing Advisory Service (MAS) and the Growth Accelerator programme has already closed its doors to new applicants. Businesses with existing contracts will, however, continue to receive support until the end of March next year.
The move took many by surprise as it was not specifically mentioned by Chancellor George Osborne in his Autumn Statement. He did announce a 17% spending cut for the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) however. The department has said that scrapping the scheme will save £84 million.
The scheme had proven very popular with SMEs, achieving a 94% approval rating from participating businesses. The service had worked with more than 18,000 businesses, helping them raise over £100 million of funding and providing crucial advice.
Getting the right advice and support can have a big impact on a new or struggling business and could even make the difference between a company surviving or experiencing insolvency. Those experiencing difficulties should seek advice as soon as possible in order to limit any potential any negative issues.
A BIS spokesman said it is hoped that local growth hubs would take up some of the slack. BIS was investing £12 million annually into 39 such hubs led by Local Enterprise Partnerships all over the country.
The local growth hubs are expected to continue offering support to potential high growth firms in order to aid expansion. The BGS also linked businesses to services such as UK trade and investment for advice at a national scale – a key consideration for firms considering new markets.
Anna Soubry, the Minister for Small Business, revealed that the government believes that using hubs at a local level can provide much needed support and advice to firms considering their options.