Tesco CEO criticises Tory apprenticeship levy

During the Confederation of British Industry’s (CBI) annual conference, Tesco CEO Dave Lewis called for David Cameron to give the retail industry more control over initiatives such as the upcoming apprenticeship levy, claiming that the tax will ‘‘wipe out our whole training budget.’’


Striking a balance

Known to many as ‘Drastic Dave’, the supermarket chief suggested that the government does not allow the retail industry to have any hand in the creation of key policies, despite it employing millions of UK citizens.

Lewis urged the government to work with the retail industry on the creation of younger, skilled employees, adding that a balance should be struck ‘‘between allowing investment for growth and collecting taxes through mechanisms like the apprenticeship levy, which wipes out the equivalent of our whole training budget.’’

Lewis also fears that the living wage could eat into companies’ profits, pressing the government to work with the retail industry on satisfying the needs of both the employee and the employer.

‘‘We need a fuller debate aimed at doing the right thing for the people in our industry without imposing more cost without providing individual benefit or business return,’’ said Lewis.

‘‘As an industry there is a worry that the unintended consequences of the living wage have not been fully thought through.’’