Tories to allow Levy funds to cover wages

As the build up to the election continues, further news from the Conservatives, who have included in their manifesto a reform to the way in which Apprenticeship Levy funds can be spent. According to the party’s commitments,

As part of a pledge to introduce a national retraining scheme, this year’s document says: “Under the scheme, the costs of training will be met by the government, with companies able to gain access to the apprenticeship levy to support wage costs during the training period”

AELP CEO Mark Dawe expressed his concern about the Tories’ commitment, saying “The levy is going to transform skills and productivity among large employers, but growth in the economy is heavily dependent on SMEs. We must ensure that enough funding from whichever source is being directed towards supporting the apprenticeships of these businesses.”

But the proposal was welcomed by Neil Carberry, CBI director for people and skills policy, who said it was a “good first step towards creating the flexible skills levy that employers want to see: one which enables levy funds to be invested in a much broader range of training and associated cost and delivers the skills needed to boost growth and productivity in the economy”.


Retraining commitment

Elsewhere in the manifesto, the government says it will allow companies  to train staff using Government grants, with companies able to access the existing apprenticeship levy to support wage costs during the training period.

Peter Cheese, chief executive of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, (CIPD) said: “While we welcome the idea of a creating a national retraining scheme, we are concerned at the suggestion that companies will be able to use the apprenticeship levy to support wage costs as part of this initiative.

“A far better way to boost training opportunities for individuals and meet employers’ skills needs would be to reframe the apprenticeship levy as a more flexible training levy.”