Small businesses in the West Midlands require greater skills support to boost employee productivity, a new survey shows.

The Forum of Private Business (FPB) found that 80 per cent of small and medium-sized enterprises in the English region were seeking assistance to develop skills and training initiatives.

According to the FPB poll, more than three-quarters of the firms quizzed (78 per cent) stated that they had no spare capital to fund an annual training budget and 68 per cent have no annual training plan currently in place.

The study, conducted by the FPB in association with Business Link in the West Midlands, also reveals that just six per cent of FPB members used Business Link over the previous 12 months, but 67 per cent of those using it found it to be ‘very good’.

Phil Orford, FPB chief executive, explained: "Most employers are committed to training their staff – the skills they gain will be invaluable in helping their businesses to grow.

"However, it is clear that smaller businesses in the West Midlands need more support and information to allow them to make the most of the help that is available."

Established in 1977, the FPB is a lobby organisation that represents the interests of private businesses in the UK and promotes the profitable growth of members.