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Vote to leave could quash apprenticeship levy plan, says Nick Boles

Government plans to introduce an apprenticeship levy could be scrapped if the UK votes to leave the EU, the skills minister has said.

Nick Boles said the new fund designed to help the government meet its target of three million new apprenticeships by 2020 could be dropped as a result of the economic impact a Brexit would have on the UK economy.

Mr Boles said a vote to leave would likely lead to a recession, with business confidence taking a hit.

Speaking yesterday at the think tank Policy Exchange, Mr Boles said: “Do you think the chancellor will feel it is prudent to introduce a new payroll tax in the middle of a recession, when business confidence has been knocked by a decision to leave the single market and unemployment is rising?”

The decision to introduce a new apprenticeship levy was introduced in chancellor George Osborne’s July Budget.

Under the new levy set to be introduced next April, firms with a payroll of over £3m would have to pay 0.5 per cent of PAYE into the government’s apprenticeship fund.

Last week Construction News revealed that for the first year of the government’s levy, construction firms would also have pay the CITB’s training levy.

The government levy has already been legislated but Mr Boles said it was in danger of being scrapped if the public votes to leave the EU on 23 June.

“Like all public services, funding for apprenticeships and other support for young people depends on the economy being strong and businesses being profitable,” Mr Boles said.

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