THE ICAEW has added its voice to the concern surrounding the Conservatives’ proposed apprenticeship levy.
Chancellor George Osborne first raised the prospect in his Summer Budget address, suggesting the imposition of the new tax on larger businesses, with the proceeds funding training schemes at smaller companies.
Business groups including the Confederation of British Industry (CBI), manufacturers’ organisation the EEF, the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC), and the Institute of Directors (IoD) called on the party earlier this week to row back on proposals to introduce the charge.
The institute criticised a lack of detail in the consultation, particularly over the rate at which the levy will be set, while the scope of the charge also remains unclear.
“[The lack of detail] makes it difficult to comment on how best to implement a new funding model that carries the complex costs of apprenticeships, including recruitment, induction, on the job training, facilities for training, training materials and salaries, all of which differ by size of employer and industry sector,” the institute’s tax faculty said in a blog post.
It added the levy should not be a replacement for public funding of apprenticeships, but instead be an addition to it.
“If the levy is intended to replace current public funding, this would be risky and could even put the current Trailblazer schemes into jeopardy,” it added. “The consultation seems to disregard the significant contribution that many large businesses, notably in the accountancy sector, already make to improving the skills of the workforce.”
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