Businesses have given the future of the DTI a resounding vote of support but voiced concerns over the scope of its remit and how the organisation has met their needs. Just under 90pc of businesses think there is a future need for the DTI, says the British Chambers of Commerce survey, Doing Business in the UK. But the department has attracted widespread criticism for having a lack of focus and being too difficult for businesses to access.

Businesses view the two most important objectives for the DTI as championing business interests within government, (73pc) and ensuring a balance between safeguarding employees’ rights and the needs of businesses, (70pc) but in their view the DTI is not representing them strongly enough within government.

BCC Director General, David Frost, said: “The message for the DTI is clear: businesses do want a DTI but they believe there is much it needs to do better. It needs to be a far more focussed, leaner department that truly champions businesses’ interests.”

“The DTI should see itself as the representative of wealth creation within government, but there is a growing perception that this is not the case as the department fails to provide adequate support to firms.”

Firms think that the DTI of the future should focus on small business support, (78pc); representing business interests within government, (74pc); promoting business interests in the European Union, (68pc), export promotion and promoting skills and training, (both 62pc).

The survey asked businesses to rate the DTI’s effectiveness on a range of performance indicators.

  • On championing business interests within government nearly two-thirds, (61pc) of businesses think the DTI is either ineffective or very ineffective in championing business interests within government. Just seven per cent of businesses think that the DTI is very effective by this measure;
  • On employers’ second most important objective for the DTI – balancing employment rights and businesses’ interests – the DTI was rated as effective or very effective by 56pc of businesses whereas 43pc believe the DTI is ineffective or very ineffective;
  • Just over half of businesses (52%) think that these should be a priority for the DTI but a similar number (54%) believe it is ineffective/very ineffective in this respect;
  • Firms are divided on the degree to which the DTI is effective at promoting competition and consumer interests: 49pc think it is ineffective or very ineffective whilst 51pc think it is doing a good job