With the fates of major construction quangos in the balance, politicos will be reading the tea leaves to see which way the decision is likely to go. In that vein, there seem to be clear hints in a statement from CITB-Construction Skills this morning following paymaster general Francis Maude’s non-committal announcement.
He was expected to say the Construction Industry Training Board would be privatised as part of his cull of almost 200 quangos. He didn’t. Instead the Cabinet Office has put off the decision until next month. CITB-Construction Skills has issued a press release suggesting the government supports the continuation of the levy, and by implication Construction Skills’ continuation as a public body.
Apparently this statement has been approved by government, but we’ve had no statement to that effect from the Department Business, Innovation and Skills.
Fears had been raised that privatisation would mean the training body would be unable to continue to raise a levy on all construction firms to pay for training, as compulsory levies can only be administered by statutory bodies.
Mark Farrar, chief executive, CITB-ConstructionSkills, said in the press released statement: “We welcome government’s announcement today that they recognise the value of levies as a way of harnessing employer investment in skills and training, and the view that CITB-ConstructionSkills’ industry led Board should have more flexibility and freedom to determine how best employer funds are invested – to help industry meets its challenges.
He added: “We view this stance as a positive endorsement of the valuable work that we do to make sure that construction has the right skills in the right place at the right time, and of the important contribution our industry makes to UK plc.
“Our industry-led board had started to look at the strategic options available to us before this announcement, and we look forward to working closely with government to explore how these freedoms can be secured for the future to help us meet industry needs.”