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CITB hits back over apprenticeships levy

The government has been warned that money raised from its proposed apprenticeships levy will fail to cover all the construction industry’s training needs.

The Construction Industry Training Board (CITB), which manages the sector’s existing skills levy, said it would be arguing this point during a consultation on the new scheme.

Chancellor George Osborne revealed plans for the UK-wide apprenticeship levy in this month’s Budget.

But CITB policy director Steve Radley said the new proposals would limit funding for skills training. “There are highly significant differences between the new apprenticeships levy proposed by the government and the long standing construction industry levy managed by CITB,” he said.

“The construction levy supports firms of all sizes, not just the largest companies. It also pays for a much broader range of skills training, with the government’s proposed levy intending to provide funding for apprenticeships only.

“These significant differences need to be addressed as part of the consultation process, in which we will play a full part.”

Radley added that the government had told the CITB that no decision had been made on how the proposed new levy would interact with the existing construction scheme.

The Treasury said in a “productivity plan” released shortly after the Budget that a new approach was needed to make employers responsible for apprenticeships.

“The government will introduce a levy on large UK employers to fund the new apprenticeships,” says the productivity plan.

“The levy will apply to large employers and will support all post-16 apprenticeships. In England, any firm will be able get back more than it puts in by training sufficient apprentices.

“The government will put control of the funding in the hands of employers via the digital voucher scheme to ensure that it delivers the training they need. Crucially, this will enable an increase in the quality of apprenticeships at the same time as an increase in quantity.

“Formal engagement with business on the implementation of the levy will take place; this will also consider the interaction with existing sector levy boards. Further details will be set out at the Spending Review.”

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