THE Liberal Democrats are calling on the Government to reverse its decision to scrap the Business Growth Service, which was a key element of former Business Secretary Vince Cable’s industrial strategy.
The Liberal Democrats say they are particularly concerned about the closure of the Manufacturing Advisory service, which helped manufacturing firms become more competitive. The services were set up by Mr Cable during the Coalition Government.
Greg Mulholland, the Liberal Democrat MP for Leeds North West, and Liberal Democrat Business spokeswoman Baroness Lorely Burt have written to the Business Secretary calling for the decision to be reversed.
They said the decision to close the services undermines businesses, and Parliament has been given no opportunity to debate the matter.
Mr Mulholland said: “It is utterly disgraceful that the Government has chosen to shut down the Business Growth Service to make short term savings.
“What is even more disgraceful is their attempt to sneak the decision through, without proper debate. The Chancellor claimed he wanted to continue the industrial strategy, but he is doing the absolute opposite.
“Closing these services is bad for business, bad for growth, and bad for the credibility of the Government’s claims to support manufacturing.”
Small Business Minister Anna Soubry said: “The most important way we can help small businesses is to continue to secure a strong, growing economy and that’s exactly what this Government is doing. We’ll keep cutting red tape and have extended small business rate relief for an extra year, freeing up small firms to do what they do best.”
A Government spokesman highlighted the fact that the closure of the Business Growth Service will generate annual savings of £84m.