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13 February 2017

Third of businesses unaware of new ‘apprenticeship levy’

A third of companies are not aware of the existence of a new employers' tax aimed at boosting the number of apprentices, a survey has found.

According to a poll of 500 business chiefs, a third do not know about the apprenticeship levy that will come into force from April 6, according to research by skills group City & Guilds.

Of those who know about the levy, only a third plan on taking on more apprenticeships.

Under the new rules that aim to increase the number of apprenticeships in England to three million by 2020, businesses over a certain size will be required to invest in apprenticeships or pay a tax.

The levy applies to companies paying annual salaries of more than £3 million. These will now have to put 0.5% of their pay bill towards the apprenticeship levy.

Of those polled, two-thirds say they will not be employing more apprenticeships under the new rules.

Kirstie Donnelly, managing director of City & Guilds, said: "The lack of awareness about the new apprenticeship system among our respondents is a cause for concern and shows that we still have a hill to climb in convincing people about the benefits apprentices can bring to business.

"However, those that do know about the levy are saying it is a great way for employers to pay for training, so there is clearly understanding and appreciation of apprenticeships out there."

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