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Complied by Cass Gilroy-Business Editor

Sharper focus and stronger voice for small business policy

Changes to the government's Small Business Service - making it a smaller, more sharply focused policy unit within the DTI with close links to HM Treasury - were announced by Margaret Hodge, the Small Business Minister. The new streamlined SBS will reflect the organisation's move from delivering services on the ground to become an expert policy unit on small business issues throughout Government. 

The transition means that from April 2007, the SBS will no longer be required to have Executive Agency status and will instead operate as an expert policy unit within the DTI's Enterprise and Business Group. 

Margaret Hodge said: "Business have told us that they want a stronger SBS with more clout in Government. We've responded to that by moving from delivering services, which is often better done outside of Whitehall, and focusing on influencing policy on the big issues that matter most to business such as enterprise, better regulation and business support. "We have got a record number of businesses in the UK, 4.3 million of them, and increasing levels of entrepreneurship, and it is important to take stock of how we support business, build on this competitive edge and ensure the whole of Government is developing policies for a more enterprising UK." 

Since its creation six years ago, the Small Business Service has championed the needs of small business within government. Research shows that every pound spent by the SBS delivers a return to the economy of over two pounds and SBS has delivered some 85million each year in admin cost savings to business.


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