Budget 'must address skills shortages' to boost UK growth, says BCC

06 Feb 2020

The British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) has called for Chancellor Sajid Javid to use next month's Budget to address 'critical skills shortages' in order to 'level up' UK economic growth.

In its latest Quarterly Recruitment Outlook, which was produced in partnership with hiring platform Totaljobs, the BCC found that over half of UK firms attempted to recruit in the final quarter of 2019. However, 72% of these businesses faced difficulties in finding the right talent.

According to the BCC, the findings indicate a 'critical skills shortage' across the UK, particularly in sectors such as construction and hospitality.

The business group is urging the Chancellor to address the shortage in the upcoming Budget, and has also called on the government to review the Apprenticeship Levy to ensure businesses can use the funds to train their employees.

'Although it is encouraging that businesses are looking to take on people, the prolonged skills shortages they're facing are not sustainable as they try to shake off years of political uncertainty and pursue growth,' said Adam Marshall, Director General of the BCC.

'Training has got to be at the heart of the upcoming Budget if the government wishes to demonstrate that it is serious about 'levelling up' opportunity all across the UK. Funding boosts are needed for vocational and technical education, for apprenticeships, and for incentives to help more employers provide high-quality job-related training.'

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