Sir Michael Latham, chairman of CITB-ConstructionSkills, is confident that the government will act to preserve the statutory training levy despite a decline in industry support for the measure.

The CITB is on the brink of failing to meet the legal requirement that it have the backing of 50% of those liable to pay the levy. This money accounts for two-thirds of the CITB board's total income.

However, Latham and Peter Lobban, the CITB's chief executive, met skills minister Phil Hope, last week in a bid to protect the system.

Latham said: "We had a very constructive meeting and Hope's department certainly appreciates the need for a long-term solution."