The high cost of courses is prompting many retailers to sacrifice vital skills training for their staff.

Just over 60% of retailers cited cost as the biggest barrier to offering training for their staff, a Forum of Private Business (FPB) survey found. Availability of training (40%) and quality (28%) were also named as key barriers.

FPB chief executive Phil Orford said it was vital that small businesses had access to affordable training. “For the sake of small businesses and the economy, it is important that small businesses are able to access the right training for their staff at the right price,” he said. “Unfortunately, while there have been some improvements recently, this is often not the case at present.”

The survey also revealed frustration over the amount of time and money spent on ensuring compliance with rules and regulation, forcing business owners to sacrifice coaching and staff development training. “Employees are hired because their skills and experiences are essential in driving firms forward, and training is an important part of the this process,” said Orford. “However many business owners are being forced to spend valuable training time and money on ensuring they comply with regulations.”

He urged the government to cut red tape where possible. “We need government measures designed to free firms from unnecessary regulations to start working quickly, the situation does not seem to have improved for many small businesses.”