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Employers puzzled by new tax

Confusion reigns over apprenticeship levy

Bryan Buchan: (Photo by Terry Murden)
Bryan Buchan: (Photo by Terry Murden)

Scotland’s engineering companies are demanding clarity over the operation of the forthcoming apprenticeship levy.

The scheme, applicable from April, has been devolved to the Scottish Government, but Scottish employers say they are “completely in the dark” about how it will be administered.

It will be collected from companies with a wage bill above £3 million and will be paid dependent on where the companies pay their tax. Some Scottish companies will therefore be paying to Revenue Scotland and others to HMRC UK.

Bryan Buchan, chief executive of Scottish Engineering, said: “We are being inundated by requests from our member companies who want information on how this levy will be collected, when and how often it will be collected as well as how they can claim their allowances back and how much they can claim.

“The basis of this levy is that the UK Government have said that they want to create three million apprentices by 2020 across the UK.

“In Scotland I have received information from colleges and training organisations who already fear that there is going to be a significant downturn in the number of essential apprenticeships in key engineering disciplines in the coming year.

“That flags up to employers a huge concern that we will once again be facing a deficit in key trades in Scotland within an industry where skills are paramount.”

Questions have already been asked of the Employability and Training department of the Scottish Government but answers have not been received.

Mr Buchan added: “The word from politicians is that they cannot provide answers before the autumn statement, which means that it will be December before any clarity is provided, allowing at best four months to set up a system of delivery which already exists in England.”



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