SMALL firms need their own skills council because Government training initiatives are not reaching them, the Federation of Small Businesses said. The UK's smallest businesses - which are responsible for around 90 per cent of Huntingdonshire's employment - must be given their own Small Business Sector Skills Council that will focus on the needs of micro-firms, with fewer than five employees. Micro-firms are currently being excluded from Government-run training schemes, and are struggling to take advantage of the 'Train to Gain' scheme, an FSB survey has found, Huntingdonshire FSB chairman Malcolm Lyons said. Train to Gain aims to help businesses develop the skills of their staff, but many small firms are not aware subsidised training is on offer and the majority of sole traders wrongly believe they do not qualify to apply for training, according to the new FSB survey. Despite a £350m pot of money being announced in spring this year for the hardest-to-reach small businesses - which tend to be at the micro end - 88 per cent of respondents to the survey of FSB members said they had not taken up an offer of training through Train to Gain, Mr Lyons explained. The majority (78 per cent) said the scheme needed to be more flexible, and identified the need for training on issues specific to the smallest firms, including leadership and management for businesses with fewer than five employees, and specialised technical and business skills areas that micro-businesses operate in. There was also interest in areas such as IT, health and safety, responding to tenders and sales and marketing - crucial business management skills that the smallest firms may not have expertise in.