Apprentice levy could be a stealth tax on business

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Apprentice feedback at Northumbrian Water Group. Picture by Icon Business Media

Next Thursday, 6 April 2017 will see the introduction of the government’s apprentice levy, which former Conservative Chancellor of the Exchequer and now Evening Standard tabloid editor George Osborne introduced in his last budget.  In this week’s Horizon Business Innovation podcast an apprentice levy expert that has driven apprentice schemes for the Bank Of England warns the business community that the levy has many opportunities to solve recruitment issues, but could also be used to subsidise Brexit.

“There is a real possibility that they don’t want the organisations to maximise their levy payments from the apprentice levy as they need the money themselves,” Kate Temple-Brown, strategic director of Temple Brown consulting said to the Horizon Business Innovation podcast.

“Historically the government has put £2.4bn into apprenticeships, which they have now stopped hoping that the £3bn (raised from levy) will replace that, but if you are Tesco and your levy pot is £42m, it will be difficult to spend all of that money and the government are hoping the majority of it will come back to them.

The apprentice levy means that any organisation with a payroll of over £3 million must pay into the levy.

“At the risk of sounding like a conspiracy theorist there is some vagueness from government. It will be interesting if there are any fences on what they can send the money on once it is dissolved and has gone back to the government, at the moment there is no clarity,” Temple Brown said.

Temple-Brown has worked with the Bank of England, wholesale construction industry supplier Travis Perkins and Deutsche Bank to develop apprentice and training schemes.  In this week’s Horizon Business Innovation podcast Temple-Brown advises CTOs and CIOs to not be trapped into thinking of the apprentice levy as a way of encouraging school leavers into an organisation, but to also assess how they can retrain existing team members to meet the changing needs of the organisation as it develops new digital business models.

To download and listen to the Horizon Business Innovation podcast visit.

About Mark Chillingworth 166 Articles
Mark Chillingworth has over 20 years of journalism and editing experience across all media platforms including online, live events, print magazines and television.
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