There are not many things devised 50 years ago that are still fit for purpose today.
Take your humble newspaper (or, even, weekly construction magazine) for example. Time was when the words I’m currently tapping out would not reach their intended audience for – at best – a day or so.
Now, if we don’t get 500 words of breathless, typo-filled prose beamed straight onto our beautifully designed mini pocket calculators within minutes of any major announcement, the apoplexy is almost tangible.
So a print newspaper alone would hardly suit modern life, much as we inhabitants of the fourth estate might yearn for those halcyon days of endless lunchtimes.
And so it may prove to be for the oft-maligned CITB and its apprenticeship levy system.
The levy has been used to fund a significant proportion of the CITB’s many and varied activities since way back in the 60s, and in principle it’s a great way for the industry to pay for its own training board.
But, as the CBI points out, construction firms don’t find that the benefits they receive from the levy are necessarily equivalent to what they put in and that the grant system attached to it is hard to navigate.
As Jack Simpson reports today, last week’s Budget announcement of a national apprenticeship levy could mean the death knell for the CITB’s own version. Of course, it might not too. But the fact that the government is looking at standardising the way industry specific training boards make their members pay shows that not everyone is happy with the status quo.
Things change. When the CITB set up its levy, there was a lot more clarity over what different companies actually do – and therefore how much they should contribute. Now that developers and contractors are often one and the same, the situation is a little more fuzzy, leaving some disgruntled over how much they’re paying in.
Fixing the levy system, whether by replacing it with a government-run version or changing the existing set up, is probably an overdue job.
More Budget fallout
We’ve now had a week to digest the Budget and, from a construction point of view, the CPA’s Rebecca Larkin isn’t all that impressed.
A man with a plan?
The reaction to the government’s planning reforms was, err, let’s be kind and say ‘mixed’. Tomorrow, the DCLG’s planning chief Steve Quartermain will face a grilling from a House of Lords select committee over the government’s built environment policy. We’ll have all the latest at Construction News.