Business needs support over levy

Angela McGowan
Angela McGowan

Businesses across Northern Ireland are now paying the Apprenticeship Levy but without any measures to guarantee the money is being used effectively the CBI has warned.

The new tax means that the businesses face a significant new cost but, without a functioning Executive in place, CBI regional director Angela McGowan said it has been impossible for the Department for the Economy to ensure the Levy results in the high-quality training businesses and apprentices need.

“Like their UK counterparts, Northern Ireland businesses are facing a rise in their costs.

“However, unlike their counterparts, local businesses have no clarity on how they can reclaim levy contributions to support apprenticeships and upskill their existing workforce.

“Businesses can stomach the Levy, but only if it is part of a genuine employer-responsive skills system with a dedicated Flexible Skills Fund at its heart. Otherwise, it is simply an additional cost that harms Northern Ireland’s economic competitiveness and will result in less apprenticeships for our young people.

“The Levy joins Corporation Tax as an issue where businesses desperately need clarity from a restored Executive. The business community urges our politicians to continue to negotiate and find a solution.”