'Use support service while you can'

START-ups and established businesses looking for help should make the most of Business Link Yorkshire's services before they are scrapped, the chairman has urged.

The Government is getting rid of the eight regional services and replacing them with a website backed up by a national call

centre and a voluntary mentoring service.

Chairman Tony Pedder said support from Business Link Yorkshire is available until the end of November. He questioned whether the new service would provide the quality and personal touch provided by the Barnsley-based organisation. He said: "We raised the quality of the advice we were giving. We have got there. I just hope the new arrangements achieve the same."

Helen West said the service, which was launched in 2008 at a cost of 35m per annum, has helped more than 110,000 businesses a year, including 10,000 which had face-to-face support. The chief executive added: "We are concerned about whether there is gap between the current arrangements and the new arrangements."

The outfit has around 270 staff. Ms West said there will "inevitably" be some compulsory redundancies. It has already axed 125 jobs to date.