HC Deb 19 February 1997 vol 290 cc563-4W
Mr. Olner

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment if she will make a statement about the effect of skills shortages on small firms. [15060]

Mr. Paice

In 1994, only 8 per cent. of employers with fewer than 25 employees reported that they had a vacancy which was proving hard to fill. Some 75 per cent. of these employers reported that the vacancies were affecting their business. More recent surveys of larger employers suggest that there has not been any substantial rise in recruitment difficulties since 1994. A shortage of skills is only one of a number of factors which can lead to recruitment difficulties.