East Anglia: Skills issues hampering start-ups says FSB

MORE than a quarter of small start-up businesses are having difficulty in finding suitably skilled staff, despite rising unemployment, according to a new report.

The findings are part of a survey conducted by the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) ahead of an inquiry, in partnership with the All Party Parliamentary Small Business Group, into entrepreneurship and the barriers faced by people starting up in business.

Essex FSB chairman, Iain Wicks said: “New statistics into the barriers small businesses face when starting-up show that 27% of small businesses found it difficult to find suitably skilled staff.

“With unemployment at 2.62million and youth unemployment more than a million, and set to rise next week, this is a worrying figure.”

Robin Twigge. the FSB’s East Anglia regional chairman, added: “It is becoming increasingly difficult to find skilled staff. The major problem is that people coming out of colleges and schools and not suitably skilled and experienced.

“In order to grow and drive economic recovery, small businesses need encouragement to take on staff.”

Respondents to the FSB’s “Voice of Small Business” survey also said that they found regulation requirements onerous (47%) and had difficulty securing finance at start-up (34%).

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The FSB is now calling for a range of measures from the Government, including reinstatement of the graduate internship scheme to give graduates the opportunity to acquire the skills they need for starting and running a business and prioritisation of enterprise education by putting it in the statutory curriculum.

It is also urging the Government to reduce the flow of regulation and tackle the burden of existing regulations, and to implement the Independent Commission on Banking’s recommendations to create more competition in the banking sector.

Mr Wicks added: “The Government has introduced a raft of new measures aimed at supporting entrepreneurs, however, the FSB’s ‘Voice of Small Business’ Index shows that employment intentions and business confidence has dropped. For small businesses looking to grow, there are still fundamental problems with hiring skilled staff, regulations and access to finance.”