Skills shortage hampering recovery

A lack of skills among the national workforce could apply a brake to the rate at which the economy recovers.

According the manufacturers' group, the EEF, vancancies in industry have grown by 60 per cent over the last year.

However, many firms are still finding it difficult to recruit the right people for the jobs on offer.

As a consequence, a number of businesses are seeking to increase the level of automation in their plants and factories.

Lee Hopley, the EEF's chief economist, said: "The skills shortage could limit the ability of firms to expand. The alternative we have heard from companies is trying to automate where possible, but making the investment in that equipment and getting it delivered take extra time."