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CITB chief plays down skills levy funding fears

CITB-ConstructionSkills’ chief executive has sought to reassure the industry that plans to turn the organisation into a non-profit body will not harm the training levy’s long-term future.

Mark Farrar told Construction News the way the organisation is funded will not be affected by proposals to “free up a significant part of the organisation from the constraints of Whitehall while keeping our activities under a charitable umbrella”.

He was responding to claims from union Ucatt that the plan “raises major questions about the future of the construction training levy”, which accounts for part of the board’s income.

The levy is paid by every employer in the industry with a total wage bill of £80,000 or more. MPs voted in March to keep the levy for three years.
Mr Farrar said the board faces restrictions as a public sector group but needs to ensure it does not get left behind as the industry changes.

He said: “We are looking at creating another charitable legal entity, without touching anything to do with our levy, or grant or public status that that operates under, so that we can enable ourselves to become a little bit more flexible in our responses to requests from industry.”

The industry training group, which has a £250 million turnover and 1,300 staff, is looking at creating a new legal entity “whose charitable objectives will be aligned with the advancement of education and training”.

This includes working more freely in partnership with other industry groups without being slowed by public sector procedures.

Mr Farrar said the group was also looking at a potential merger with SummitSkills, the sector skills council for the building services engineering sector.


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