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Calls for tax breaks for hiring apprentices

Construction qualifications body EAL has called for the Government to give employers National Insurance breaks for hiring apprentices.

EAL used the first day of National Apprentice Week to campaign for firms to be exempt from NI payments for the first two years a trainee was with them.

The body also called for a single government department to be given control of apprenticeship policy.

EAL managing director Ann Watson said: “We are calling for two clear policies on apprenticeships: first, practical support for employers with tangible financial incentives; second, for apprenticeships to be overseen by one government department.”

As part of National Apprentice Week, the Government is encouraging all businesses to take up a grant of £2,500 for each 16 or 17-year-old apprentice they take on.

Ms Watson said: “Offering incentives to employers to train apprentices is a great idea, but often the red tape associated with such incentives can confuse employers.

“A more practical incentive would be to offer employers a break on National Insurance for the first two years of an apprentice’s time with the firm.”