Manufacturing NI- Response to Apprenticeship Levy
Manufacturing NI have been campaigning hard for our members on the question of the Apprenticeship Levy, and have published our response to Finance Minister Máirtín Ó Muilleoir and Economy Minister Simon Hamilton's Consultation on the topic, highlighting the impact that the levy will have on our members. To read the our response, click here.
What does the Apprenticeship Levy mean for Manufacturing NI members?
The Apprenticeship Levy is changing the way in which apprenticeships are funded in England, but all employers in the United Kingdom are expected to pay the levy. The Northern Ireland Executive have declared that the levy is of no benefit to employers with a wage bill of over £3 million.
This is the latest additional labour cost being applied to Norther Irish businesses, which is diminishing our place in the world markets and comes after increases to the increase in the National Living Wage and Stakeholder Pension contributions, increases in business rates and expensive energy tariffs.
"The proposal to exclude employers in Northern Ireland from directly accessing the collected funding will be damaging to our competitive position. This Levy adds costs and provides nothing new back to employers – indeed there is no commitment from the Department that it will add to the funding available for skills development. This being the case, our firms will be at a significant disadvantage to competitors in GB. The Department must get equal access for employers in Northern Ireland to the digital accounts (or similar) to allow Northern Ireland’s manufacturing firms to not lose more ground to GB."
A direct outcome of the levy is potential business moved away from Northern Ireland, as well as Northern Irish companies potentially subsidising the apprenticeships of competitors.
Manufacturing NI have no indication from the Departments that it intends to put the £24 million that will be collected from the private sector in Northern Ireland that it will be spent on apprenticeships or skills development- lumping additional costs onto businesses with no particular gain.