Critics slam Labour’s ‘Apprenticeship Tax’ announcement

The Labour party is facing backlash over its latest announcements regarding apprenticeships, which saw Ed Miliband promise that ‘Any firm that wants to bring in a foreign worker from outside the EU will also have to train up a local worker‘ in an apprenticeship role. However, fear over an increase in ‘red tape’ saw businesses reject the idea, and the party has now conceded that the apprenticeships would have to be offered to all EU workers, rather than just young British workers.

As highlighted by the Guardian, it seems a lack of communication within the party has led to the confused comments made by the party leader and other officials, as Labour internal briefings did reportedly make it clear that the apprenticeships would be available to all within the UK. The advance publicity in the weekend press also helped contribute to the confusion, with its hints that the policy would be purely for British youngsters.

Labour hopes the scheme will create 125,000 apprenticeships over five years, after its potential introduction into the party’s immigration bill in the first term of parliament. Many businesses, including John Longworth, Director General of the British Chambers of Commerce, have described the policy as an ‘“apprentice tax” on employers and job creation‘ and fear it may instead cause more harm than good for businesses and young people.