Apprenticeship levy and Budget 2016.

What the Treasury said: The government had already said it wanted to create 3m new apprenticeships by 2020, funded by a levy on large employers. The apprenticeship levy launches in April 2017, at a rate of 0.5% of an employer’s pay bill.

What has happened: There has been encouraging news on the number of companies offering apprenticeships and the number of young people signing up for them. But there are worries among business groups that the new levy could prove to be counterproductive. The manufacturers’ organisation, the EEF, says it is disappointed that the government has told businesses what they will need to pay into the scheme but not what they can get out of it and that could start to hamper recruitment plans and put the 3m target at risk. The CBI business group agrees. “Many businesses are in the difficult position of having to reduce overall training or apprenticeship numbers to pay their levy,” said Neil Carberry, CBI director for employment and skills.’ - Guardian

‘Wherever the Chancellor finds the money to bribe the voters anew, it must not be from business. Osborne’s record on business taxation has hitherto been relatively good. He’s progressively cut the rate of corporation tax, and he’s introduced a reasonable degree of stability and predictability into the system, enabling Britain to narrow the gap with Ireland on the attractiveness of its tax regime in the most recent KPMG survey of top executives. At the same time, Britain has drawn further ahead of Switzerland, Luxembourg and the Netherlands.

But since the election, Osborne has show some signs of going the other way, with the imposition of a £3bn apprenticeship levy – an increase in National Insurance by another name’ - Telegraph

‘Ahead of Wednesday's announcement, the British Chamber of Commerce, which represents thousands of UK firms, told Mr Osborne to hold off from imposing more "up front burdens for business".

UK employers have already been hit by the introduction of a new National Living wage, which will rise to more than £9 an hour by 2020, and an apprenticeship levy forecast to cost £11.6bn over the next five years.

"At a time when many businesses already face sharply higher costs and taxes, the Chancellor must avoid adding any new obligations on our firms", said Adam Marshall, acting director general of the BCC.’ - Telegraph

‘Skills Funding Agency (SFA) director Keith Smith has moved to the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) to take a lead role in levy implementation.

Mr Smith will be on secondment to BIS for the next year, from his SFA post overseeing funding and programmes, while working as director of levy implementation until it goes live next April.’ – FE Week

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