DfE refutes Levy cuts criticism

Carpenter And Apprentice Installing Luxury Fitted Kitchen

The government’s rethink over its funding commitments under the Apprentice Levy have not pleased everyone. Earlier this week, skills minister Robert Halfon came out with a set of reforms that included an increase in the time to use the ‘apprenticeship’ vouchers – and the flexibility to transfer unused vouchers to smaller companies.

However, the promised reforms have led to several groups criticising what they belief will equate to what actually amounts to a cut in real terms.

David Lammy, who has led opposition to the government’s funding plan, said: “The government has to explain why – even after this U-turn – its updated funding proposals will still result in cuts of 50%.

“Whilst the government has reinstated the additional support for disadvantaged young people, it has only committed to maintaining this funding for one year and offered no further guarantees.

“I am pleased to have secured a backbench debate on the issue to enable MPs from all sides to make their voices heard.”


‘We need a simple system that works for all’

However, the government has refuted the criticisms. A DfE spokesman said that whatever “Through the new levy, £2.5bn will be invested in apprenticeships by 2019/20 – twice what was spent in 2010/11.

“What we need is a simple system that works for all, which is why we have confirmed that the cost an employer will pay for an apprenticeship is the same, regardless of age.

“This week, we confirmed that to help market transition, providers will get an extra 20 per cent for training a young person on a framework. This is on top of the £1,000 paid per 16- to 18-year-old apprentice to both the employer and training provider.”


‘Significant steps have been taken’

Meanwhile the AELP has offered a cautious welcome to the changes. “While there are clearly still areas of concern, significant steps have been taken to respond to the key matters raised by AELP and its members and we welcome that,” a statement from the AELP read.

It’s good to see a very much improved position for 16-18 year olds, particularly on existing frameworks.  There may still be issues for individual sectors when a more detailed analysis is undertaken, but this is a positive move.”