Any nominations: It’s all go down at the Business Links offices at the moment. No sooner had Small Firms Minister Barbara Roche announced plans to introduce a Business Link league table, than Barclays Bank launched a national award scheme for Business Link advisers. Called Building Better Businesses, the scheme is run in conjunction with the Department of Trade and Industry and the Business Link network. It will recognise and reward Business Link advisers who are deemed to be making a real difference to the fortunes of the businesses they advise. And this is where you come in. If you have a Business Link adviser you wish to nominate, you can obtain nomination forms from your local Business Link or by telephoning Angela Moyle at Barclays Bank on 01203 532948. Businesses have until 3 July to make their nominations, with the final being held on 19 November at the Café Royal in London. Each regional winner will receive a trophy and a place in the national final where they will compete against nine other regional winners for the 7500 first prize.

The future is responsibility: The Future Foundation is holding a free seminar based on its recent BT-sponsored report – The Responsible Organisation: the roles and responsibilities of the Big Citizens of the 21st Century. The conference includes guest speakers from BT and the Future Foundation, a panel discussion and a question-and-answer session. It will be held on 28 April at The Gallery in Cowcross Street, London EC1, starting at 5.30pm. For further information call Charlotte Grimshaw at the Future Foundation on 0171-250 3343.

Small-business performance on the wane: Small-business performance has declined significantly since the start of the year, according to the latest Office World Quarterly Small Business Survey. Firms reporting a growth in first quarter turnover dropped from 51 per cent last year to 41 per cent this year. Job creation is also down 10 per cent, with only 18 per cent of small businesses creating new jobs during the quarter, the lowest figure for three years. However, the forecast for small-business turnover growth in the next quarter gives some cause for hope, with the proportion of businesses expecting growth up two points, to 42 per cent, on this time last year.

Less red tape: Most businesses would be happier if there were less red tape to cut through and so Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster David Clark’s recent announcement must have come as a relief. He has announced plans – with input from ministers in Spain, Italy and Austria and more than 250 senior business representatives across Europe – to put an end to ‘unnecessary’ red tape in Europe and cut administrative burdens on businesses. Action points include a pilot European business test panel to ensure businesses have their say during the development of new EU rules and easier access for businesses and citizens to find out about regulations.

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