Industry leaders have criticised the government after training body ConstructionSkills announced a funding deficit that will lead to cuts in its spending on training

Construction’s largest skills body said training grants would be slashed by 10% in 2009/10, as recession-hit firms struggle to pay the levy. It blamed the cut on a rise in demand for grants as well as forecasts that indicate the levy income will fall more than expected.

A spokesperson said: “With income expected to fall significantly next year, we must ensure that the grants scheme is affordable and can remain sustainable in the coming years.”

Apprentice grants will not be affected but the reduced levy means training in areas such as health and safety will be cut.

Brian Berry, director of external affairs at the Federation of Master Builders, said: “It’s yet again something the government says it’s keen to invest in, but when it comes to the crunch there is no additional support.”

The Federation of Plasterers and Drywall Contractors said the news was a “further blow to ConstructionSkills’ credibility”.

The levy is applied on a sliding scale to firms that pay more than £80,000 in salaries a year.