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Three federations vote against CITB levy

Scottish builders and those working in the interiors sector have voted against the continuation of the CITB levy as part of the body’s triennial consensus vote.

The Scottish Building Federation, the Scottish Decorators’ Federation and FIS, the body representing firms in the interiors and finishes sector, have all revealed that their members have voted against the levy proposals put forward by the CITB.

More than two-thirds of SBF members and 89 per cent of SDF members voted against the levy, while 60 per cent of FIS members said no to the CITB’s offer.

In January, the CITB revealed that it would be slashing the CITB levy by a third on all PAYE workers, while also promising a complete overhaul of the grant system to make it easier for firms to claim back funding for training.

However, SDF chief executive Ian Rogers said the vote showed a level of dissatisfaction with the CITB in Scotland and its inability to listen and act on the wishes of the Scottish industry.

SBF director Vaughan Hart added: “Time and again, levy payers cited the recent CITB imposed deregulation and dilution of Scotland’s proud craft apprenticeships as a symptom of the systematic failure and lack of transparency in CITB’s current governance and operational arrangements.”

Despite the Scottish federations overwhelmingly voting against the CITB, 94 per cent of those who voted against admitted they would be more inclined to vote in support of the current levy and grant system if action was taken improve the CITB’s governance and operation.

FIS chief executive David Frise said the vote against came over a sustained period of frustration in its members with the CITB, particularly in the way it engaged with SMEs and the complexity of the grant system.

He said: “On average, our members receive 35p back in grant for every pound in levy paid. It’s not surprising, therefore, that members do not see a benefit in continuing with the CITB levy system.”

The latest results mean that more than six of the industry’s 14 consensus federations have now revealed the results of their voting process.

On Wednesday, Build UK, the sector’s biggest trade body, revealed that 96 per cent of its members had voted to back the training body, while the Civil Engineering Contractors Association and the Federation of Master Builders also voted in favour of its continuation.

Despite the vote to support, all three bodies called for major reforms, with the FMB calling for greater representation of SMEs on the CITB’s board and Build UK calling for greater transparency and scrutiny of the body.

Mr Frise said he supported Build UK’s calls for urgent reform to develop effective skills and training programmes that attract new entrants into the sector and deliver the qualified workforce the industry needs.

The deadline for the consensus vote closes today, with the official result expected to be unveiled in the next couple of weeks.

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