British SMEs will increase their IT budgets by 10.7 per cent next year, according to the latest statistics.A report from AMR research reveals that UK SMEs will up the amount they spend on IT by twice as much as companies of an equivalent size in France and Germany. Budgets across all three markets are expected to increase by 12.4 per cent.Larger businesses will up their IT outlays by just 3.8 per cent in contrast, although manufacturing companies allege that their IT budgets will grow by approximately 7.2 per cent.According to the study, the rate of growth of operating costs is "what is causing concern, particularly in the UK, which highlights its attention to IT cost containment for 2007".High-spending SMEs will look to put budgets towards eBusiness projects and business process outsourcing, while larger companies will concentrate on better utilisation and analysis of data, according to the report.Despite the apparent determination of UK businesses to increase IT spending, a new report from e-skills reveals that around 20 per cent of UK employees say that there is a skills gap among information and communications technology (ICT) employees – a statistic that e-skills chief executive Karen Price says "confirms that skills gaps among ICT professionals and IT users remain a serious issue for employers".© Adfero Ltd