TECs were set up with a mission to foster economic growth and contribute to regeneration of the communities they serve, partly by strengthening the local skills base. TEC leaders insist the two functions are inseparable and interdependent. They resent what they see as continuing pressure channelling them towards their function administering national training programmes and away from stimulating enterprise. The committee report focuses on the work of Business Links - the network of one-stop shops offering support services for smaller firms. In a recommendation which has stung the TECs, it suggests the Government should consider transferring the enterprise role of some to the Business Links.
The council says the proposal contradicts another of the committee's recommendations that the Government should actively consider mergers among business support organisations. TECleaders say training and enterprise should be brought closer together.