Sajid Javid: Apprenticeship levy is ‘nothing to be afraid of’

By Sophie Witts contact

- Last updated on GMT

Sajid Javid: Apprenticeship levy is ‘nothing to be afraid of’

Related tags: National apprenticeship, Apprenticeship

Sajid Javid has assured businesses that the upcoming apprenticeship levy is ‘nothing to be afraid of’.

The scheme - which comes in to force in 2017 - will impose a 0.5 per cent tax on companies with a wage bill of over £3m to fund the training of three million apprentices by 2020.

But employers have expressed concerns that the plans could lower the standard of training.

Speaking at the launch of National Apprenticeship Week at The Shard, the Business Secretary assured companies that the tax would focus on quality over quantity.

“It would be easy for us to hit our three million target by piling up cheap, useless training courses,” said Javid.

“But that’s not going to help anyone. We need apprenticeships that are relevant, challenging and fit for purpose, and we need them to be respected and held in high esteem by employers and wider society.”

Government interference?

The Minister added that the levy would remain independent of ministerial meddling.

“I know there’s been a bit of concern about this. Some people see it as an extra tax or extra burden, but there’s really nothing to be afraid of,” he said.

“The levy is simply a straightforward way of funding the increase in high quality apprenticeship training we all want to see. It will be set at 0.5 per cent of your pay bill and collected through a PAYE system.

“Control of the money it raises will be put in the hands of employers so that they can use it to spend on the training they need. There won’t be anyone in Whitehall handing out grants or telling you how to spend this money.”

National Apprenticeship Week runs from 14 to 18 March.

Hospitality businesses including Starbucks, Greene King, Hotel du Vin have and Mitchells & Butlers have all pledged to increase the number of apprenticeships they offer.

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