Belfast Telegraph

Apprenticeship levy set for reassessment

By Margaret Canning

The Chancellor is to review the flexibility which companies have to spend money raised under the apprenticeship levy.

Philip Hammond said the Government would deliver three million apprenticeships by 2020 via the levy.

While companies here pay the scheme, they have no input into how the money is spent after it is collected by HMRC.

The levy is charged at a rate of 0.5% on company annual pay bills of more than £3m.

Stephen Kelly, head of lobby group Manufacturing NI, said some sectors were already paying a skills levy. "Quite simply, firms who are contributing to the apprenticeship levy here should have the same access to this skills investment money as their competitors and colleagues in Great Britain," Mr Kelly maintained.

"For businesses in the construction and building products sector, it is a double hit as they contribute already to a skills levy.

"It remains deeply unfair that firms here pay without having access to their money.

"The levy monies are repaid through the block grant, making it the responsibility of Finance and Economy Ministers.

"Neither post is currently occupied, so instead firms see this as just another taxation, which in turn is impacting on their skills investment budgets and wage settlements."

Belfast Telegraph

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