YORK has been identified as one of the top performing cities in the country for staff training and successes among small businesses.

Think-tank Centre for Cities has ranked York at number three in the top 10 list of cities with the highest proportion of small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) that trained staff.

The organisation's newly released Small Business Outlook revealed 79.2 per cent of SMEs in York trained their staff, ahead of a city average of 69 per cent.

The report stated: "SME's investing in training are likely to be more productive and adaptable. They are also likely to find it easier to retain staff.

"Overall, cities with a higher proportion of SMEs investing in training are also likely to have more high-performing SMEs."

York also faired well in the Small Business Outlook for closure rates, again ranking third in the list of cities with the lowest closure rates.

The data, for 2010 to 2013, showed York had a closure rate of 11.9 per cent compare to a UK average of 15.7 per cent and a city average of 14.9 per cent.

The report singled out York for high growth among small businesses, stating: "Differences between cities when it comes to SMEs adopting high-growth strategies are striking.

"There is a spread of SMEs adopting high-growth strategies from London out along the M4 corridor through Oxford, Swindon and Bristol and north along the M1 past Northampton, Derby and Nottingham.

"There are also clusters of SMEs adopting high-growth strategies in Manchester and Warrington, and Leeds and York.

"Cities with a large share of SMEs adopting high-growth strategies are more likely to drive employment growth in the short term."

While small businesses have been raising their profile, helped by initiatives such as Small Business Saturday and the SME broadband voucher scheme, York didn't fare well in all the report's statistics.

York was ranked eight in the list of ten cities with the lower number of jobs created per expanding SME.

Between 2010 and 2013 York had an average employment rate created per expanding SME of 4.3, compared to a UK average rate of 5.2 and a city average of 5.7.

Cllr Alexander, leader of City of York council said: “There are some very encouraging statistics to come out of this report with York SMEs not only having a much better chance of surviving and growing here than elsewhere, but that they are operating in competitive markets, expanding their offer and investing in their staff to ensure their success.

"For our part we are working with partners to ensure that York has the right environment for businesses to start, survive and grow; whether this is through improvements to our digital and physical infrastructure or in ensuring access to city-wide training and development opportunities”.