Training body ConstructionSkills is set to suffer a deficit of about £4m this year instead of the surplus it expected, it is understood.

The organisation, which receives money from the industry in the form of a levy and redistributes it in grants for training, had expected to have a surplus of about £3m by the end of 2008.

It paid out about £30m more in grants this year than it did in 2007, and expects £170m to have been distributed by the end of the year.

Sources close to the organisation have suggested that this could be in part owing to businesses putting workers on training courses, for which they get grants, rather than making them redundant.

Douglas Matthew, head of finance at ConstructionSkills, said: “Employers are training their workforce more than before, perhaps to gain a competitive advantage and be in a position to capitalise post-downturn. As a result, we have moved from a position of planned surplus to one of deficit.”

He added: “We are in the process of reviewing our financial plans and business targets in light of these changes and those affecting the wider economy to ensure we are in a position to be able to continue to support the industry at the level required.”

Income from levy contributions is likely to decrease as firms make stuff redundant, as the amount paid is linked to the number of staff a company employs.