LEVY BILLS have been cut by the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) in a bid to help construction employers recover from the impact of coronavirus.
CITB is proposing a 50% discount on the 2021/22 Levy rate, meaning employers will pay 18 months’ Levy out of 24, making an overall saving of 25% across two years.
Employers will continue to have a payment holiday on the Levy until September and then up to a full year to pay the 2020/21 levy.
The changes mean CITB’s forecast Levy income will drop by £166m over two financial years. Despite this reduction, CITB’s activity plan, the Skills Stability Plan 2020-21 protects apprenticeships, direct funding to employers and the Grants Scheme.
CITB says it is cutting costs and using its reserves to support employers’ skills needs.
CITB says it will work with other industry partners to support workers who have lost their jobs or seen their apprenticeship disrupted, matching them with a new employer.
This follows existing CITB support for appprentices through up-front grant payments to current year 2 and 3 apprentices, training materials being made available online and support from Apprenticeship Officers to allow learning to continue remotely.
For employers, there is a Skills and Training Funds, with £8m earmarked for small and micro businesses, £3.5m for medium-sized businesses, with a £3m Leadership and Management Fund for large firms.
CITB Chief Executive Sarah Beale said: “This represents a radical plan of action that balances the need for a reduction in the Levy at this time, alongside vital investment in the skills needed by employers now and in the future.
“It is the result of hundreds of conversations with employers across the length and breadth of Britain and I’m confident it meets the sector’s immediate needs. We are committed to making the Levy work hard to protect apprenticeships and support hard-pressed employers as they equip themselves for the challenges and opportunities ahead.”
Rejecting the normal Consensus process, CITB will now seek the views of industry employers and federations directly about the development of a new strategic plan, covering 2021-23, with the plan expected to be published in September.
Sarah Beale said, “”We will listen to industry and respond to its priorities and give every employer the confidence that we wish to understand and learn from their concerns and ambitions.”
Mark Reynolds, Mace Group Chief Executive and Skills Workstream Lead at the Construction Leadership Council (CLC), said: “Our industry has come together to develop an effective plan to come back from the effects of Covid-19, as detailed in the CLC’s Roadmap to Recovery document.
“CITB’s Skills Stability Plan builds on this work and clearly outlines how they will play their part in delivering the skills we need. We very much support efforts made by the CITB to substantially reduce the Levy. It is right that Consensus is delayed so we can work together to make sure that our recovery, still in its early stages, is as strong as possible.”
CITB Levy Cut Welcome Relief, says FMB
Brian Berry, Chief Executive of the Federation of Master Builders (FMB), said, “The cut in the CITB levy which equates to 25% over a two year period is welcome relief for those building companies struggling in the current climate, when many are experiencing lower levels of enquiries and restrictions on their ability to work. The delay in the consensus process is sensible given the added pressures that the construction industry is facing.”
“It’s important now that the CITB focuses its energy on getting money out of the door to support builders to train, and that they improve communication with SMEs who find it harder than is acceptable to access CITB services.
“The construction industry still faces a skills crisis, and any future skills plan mustn’t overlook the core role that SMEs play in developing talent, especially as they train over 70% of the industry apprentices.”