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Apprenticeship levy set for reform as Chancellor announces scheme will be made more ‘flexible’

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Apprenticeship levy set for reform as Chancellor announces scheme will be made more ‘flexible’

The apprenticeship levy is set to undergo reform following a walk back on the scheme by the Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond.

A spokesperson for the Chancellor told The Caterer the measures would include a lifting of the limit on the transferring of funds to other organisations in the apprenticeship service. Currently only 10% of total funds can be transferred if unused, however this will be raised to 25%.

Meanwhile £5m would be invested in the Institute for Apprenticeships, which will look to widen the scope of currently available courses to include industries like aerospace.

In total the new policies are costed at £125m.

Speaking from Conservative Party Conference, he said: “The Conservative party is, and always will be, the party of business. That means we listen to business, and we have listened, and we’ve heard the concerns over how the apprenticeship levy is working.

“So today we’ve set out a series of measures to allow firms more flexibility over how the levy is spent.

“But we know, that we may need to do more to ensure that the levy supports the development of the skilled workforce our economy needs so in addition to these new flexibilities we will engage with business on our plans for the long-term operation of the levy.”

Responding to the Chancellor’s announcement, UKHospitality  welcomed the Government’s intention to provide support for apprenticeships, management skills and retraining.

 

UKHospitality chief executive Kate Nicholls said: “With Brexit still providing a degree of uncertainty, it is good to see the Government acting to provide some support for businesses.

 

“One of the key challenges facing the hospitality sector, as well as other sectors, is securing the future of the workforce and driving skills and improvement. A package of support to help employers train, retain and improve their team members will be a welcome boost and should help hospitality businesses continue to provide great careers.”

 

The Chancellor also indicated that the Government would introduce a Digital Services Tax.

 

Nicholls added: “A revamp of the business tax system is certainly long overdue and the Government needs to act urgently. We need to see reform to ensure that digital businesses pay their fair share and so the system acknowledges the realities of doing businesses in the 21st Century – this must include a reduction in business rates paid by hospitality operators.”

 

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