01 Aug 2022The Institute of Directors (IoD) has called for the creation of a new, independent agency to address the 'chronic and systemic' skills shortages in the UK. The business group is calling on the government to create a fully independent Shortage Occupations Agency with a statutory remit to advise on current and future skills shortages areas for the UK economy. It also suggested the tax system should be used to incentivise business training in order to address skills requirements. The IoD stated that sole traders should be permitted to deduct for tax purposes the costs of reskilling into markets that are new for their business. 'Our own polling suggests skills and training are seen as crucial to firms' future growth plans and are the single most important issue that will affect future productivity,' said Alexandra Hall-Chen, Senior Policy Adviser at the IoD. 'Yet levels of workplace training are low by international standards and, if anything, are falling. 'Business leaders are clear that responsibility for fixing skills shortages lies jointly between government and industry. We are therefore calling on government to be clearer about what its priorities are, through the establishment of an independent Shortage Occupations Agency, and to be bolder in what it will do to achieve change.'