Business Link Kent to close

Laura Pelling, chief executive of Business Link in the South East
Laura Pelling, chief executive of Business Link in the South East

Business Link Kent is to close after more than 15 years of advising firms.

The coalition government has confirmed all regional Business Links will by gone by November as part of a radical shake-up of business support.

Although the Kent agency had already become a shadow of its former self, with the number of personal business advisers cut to six and subsumed within a south east service based in Woking, Surrey, there were hopes it could continue.

But ministers have decided to focus public spending on high-growth businesses and improving information and guidance online and over the phone. The regional service is to end by November 25.

In a letter, chief executive Laura Pelling said the agency would continue to serve customers and ensure a smooth transition to online support at and a national contact centre.

"The Business Link service in the South East has consistently delivered very high customer satisfaction and we remain committed to supporting existing businesses and budding entrepreneurs."

Ms Pelling added: "We are keen to leave a lasting legacy of sustained business growth for all of those companies we have helped over the years and to provide an effective platform for our partners, as we look towards a new business support landscape."

Business Links were created in 1992 by Michael Heseltine, then President of the Board of Trade. More than 80 regional links, including Kent, were set up over the next few years.

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