The majority of the country’s housebuilders look set to vote against the future existence of the CITB when they have their say on the training board’s future next month.
Construction News understands many of the UK’s housebuilders are lining up to vote to scrap the CITB levy, and thereby opting against continuing with the 43-year-old training board.
It comes after Balfour Beatty chief executive Leo Quinn said last week his firm would likely vote against the continuation of the CITB.
Under the triennial consensus vote, the CITB must get backing from at least half the construction industry to allow it to continue collecting funds from firms past April next year.
This includes the majority of the CITB’s 14 consensus federations representing various sectors of construction including, Build UK, the Civil Engineering Contractors Association (CECA) and the Home Builders Federation (HBF), which represents housebuilders.
A spokesman for the HBF told Construction News: “Sections of the housebuilding industry have been frustrated with the CITB’s performance in recent years and we need to ensure that whatever emerges from this process better enables housebuilders to train the people it needs to deliver the homes of the future.”
“We will be polling members with regards to how we as an industry vote and will be led by them accordingly. This is a key decision for the construction industry as a whole in terms of how we manage training in the future.”
The HBF’s members include heavyweights such as Barratt, Bellway and Taylor Wimpey.
It is understood the housebuilding sector has become increasingly frustrated over the amount of grant it receives back from the CITB despite paying in millions of pounds of levy each year.
There is also a growing perception that the skills needed in the housebuilding sector are different to those of the construction sector and that the way grant is distributed could better reflect these differences.
Another point of contention is over the amount of levy that firms currently have to pay on Construction Industry Scheme (CIS) subcontracted labour, when compared with directly employed labour.
The CITB has vowed to slash the levy paid on PAYE workers by a third past next April, while the amount of levy paid on non-PAYE workers will remain at 1.25 per cent.
For housebuilders, which rely on subcontracted labour, this will mean less of a reduction on levy paid each year when compared to those that directly employ.
If the CITB survives the vote, it is understood the HBF has pushed for changes to the way grant is distributed, including a proposal calling for its members’ contributions to be ringfenced to fund skills solely for the housebuilding sector.
It is understood that discussions are currently ongoing between the CITB and the HBF over changes to the way in which housebuilders receive grants, including being able to use to pay for suppliers training needs.
CITB director of policy Steve Radley said: “Our discussions with homebuilders indicate that there are a range of opinions on the levy amongst its membership, with the consensus consultation still under way and nothing is certain at this stage.
“We are aware of their concerns and these are being addressed as part our wider reform programme.
“It’s vital that the CITB’s reforms deliver the right skills outcomes for the whole of construction. But at the same time we are engaging with the HBF and its members to look at how we can we work together to meet their skill needs.”