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Construction industry backs CITB levy amid calls for reform

The Construction Industry Training Board’s (CITB) controversial levy has garnered the support of the sector, despite calls for modernisation and reform.

According to CITB, employers of all sizes exercised their voting rights to back the board’s levy raising powers. The vote itself followed a triennial consensus, during which 14 federations and 4,000 non-represented employers were polled on whether or not they supported the proposed levy rate.

In answer to the board’s biggest-ever industry consultation, the year’s proposed levy rate was set at 0.35% for all PAYE employers, down from 0.5% in previous years. The subcontractor NET CIS rate will remain at 1.25% however.

But while the results of the independent employer survey, together with feedback from the consensus federations, bode well – with 76.9% of employers in support of the levy – CITB has acknowledged that real and lasting change must be made.

“The results are clear – construction firms across Great Britain have come together to commit to deliver a skilled construction workforce for the next three years,” said Sarah Beale, CEO of CITB. “The consensus process this year has been rigorous, robust and inclusive – with more employers consulted than ever before.

“Whilst we have been backed by our industry, we’ve heard the calls for change loud and clear. Be assured that we will continue listening to industry and along with recommendations from the government’s upcoming review into industry training boards, will use all we learn to inform our reform process.

“We are completely committed to modernising our organisation by renewing governance, ensuring accountability and improving outcomes. It is what industry expects and we will deliver.”

Mark Farmer – Chief Executive of Cast Consultancy – welcomed this initial response, while recognising the need big change: “I’ve made it clear the future of the industry has to be very different; that means CITB must be very different too. We’ve seen some positive signs from CITB, particularly with the reports around immersive learning and offsite construction. Now we need to see the big changes that are going to make our industry’s training body fit for purpose long-term.”

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