Two of the country’s leading fast-growth business incubators have had their budgets slashed by regional development agencies struggling to pay for Gordon Brown’s economic recovery initiatives.

Oxford Innovation, which runs centres for young companies across the country, and St John’s Innovation Centre in Cambridge, which houses and supports 400 high-tech companies each year, are both having to scale back programmes helping smaller companies develop new products and expand rapidly.

David Kingham, managing director of Oxford Innovation, said the South East Development Agency has turned overnight from being a vocal supporter of its Innovation Advisory Service to smaller technology companies in the region to announcing that its budget would be cut in half.

Walter Herriott, his counterpart at St John’s, said his centre had lost public funding from the East of England Development Agency for the first time in 15 years. 'Within the last week, because of the funding of first-time buyers, we have been squeezed by the testicles,' he said.

Daily Telegraph