Philip Hammond has been urged to give a "good shaking" to the education secretary to ensure he does more to increase the number of skilled workers.
The chancellor faced the calls from Labour's Barry Sheerman, who said businesses were being held back by a "lack of good skilled people to work for them".
The Huddersfield MP asked when Mr Hammond would give Damian Hinds a shaking to "do something about" the apprenticeship levy.
During Treasury questions in the House of Commons, he said: "Surely the chancellor knows that the thing that's holding most businesses – small and medium and large – back, is the lack of good skilled people to work for them.
'A good shaking'
"When is he going to give a good shaking of the secretary of state for education to do something about the apprenticeship levy, the apprenticeship schemes and the higher education graduate apprenticeship scheme?"
Mr Hammond replied: "[Mr Sheerman] is right – skills are a critical factor for business in an economy with such high levels of employment and low levels of unemployment as we have achieved.
"We are investing in apprenticeships with the new apprenticeship levy, providing funding for more and better apprenticeships, we are investing in T levels, improving substantially the level of technical training for 16- to 19-year-olds, and we're reviewing the operation of tertiary education funding."