OPITO reissues call for fairness as Levy comes into effect

From April 6th, 2017, all employers in the UK with an annual pay bill over £3million will contribute to the UK’s new Apprenticeship Levy at a rate of 0.5% of their annual pay bill as a commitment to increasing apprenticeships.

The UK Government estimates that the levy will raise £3billion annually over the first five years. OPITO, the oil and gas industry skills, standards and workforce development organisation, believes that a fairer deal is required for Scottish based firms. OPITO interim chief executive officer John McDonald said: “While businesses based in England can access levy funds which have been ring-fenced to allow employers to directly pay for training their young people, the same cannot be said for those with a workforce located in Scotland. The £221m of funds raised by the levy and allocated to Scotland during the first year of operation will not be ring-fenced for apprenticeship training despite calls from OPITO for the policy to be rolled out uniformly across the UK.

The purpose of the Levy is to create more apprenticeships and increase opportunities for the next generation and at the same time generate value for businesses involved. However, companies in Scotland will experience little additional support to re-invest into skills and training resulting in the levy in Scotland being seen as nothing more than an additional employment tax.

On behalf of those affected in the oil and gas sector, OPITO is calling for the Scottish Government to provide increased support for a range of skills related initiatives defined by the industry so that we can re-invest into the sector.

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