Builders’ trade body Build UK says contractors need more time

Contractors have joined calls for the government’s all-industry apprenticeship levy to be delayed.

The government last week revealed further details of how the levy will work, with the levy set to come into force in April 2017.

It confirmed industries where a levy is already imposed - including construction through the CITB - will have to pay both levies as required.

But Build UK, the industry body formed by the merger of the UK Contractors Group and National Specialist Contractors Council, called for a delay and said “many questions remained unanswered” despite the government revealing more details.

It comes after the CBI called for the rollout of the levy to be postponed so businesses have more time to prepare.

In a statement, Build UK said “more time and clarity” is needed so employers can fully understand the effect the levy will have on their businesses.

It added that the funding bands also need to reflect the higher costs of delivering construction apprenticeships.

The statement said: “The proposed allocation of construction programmes to the new bands is concerning, as in many cases the costs have been underestimated. This could deter employers from offering much-needed programmes.”

Under the new levy plans, types of apprenticeship will now come under 15 different funding bands, ranging from £1,500 to £27,000 per apprentice, depending on the complexity of the programme.

Examples given by the government include maximum band 15 funding of £27,000 for chartered surveyors, nuclear engineers and utilities engineering technicians, while welders would receive either band nine or 10, of either £9,000 or £12,000 a year.