Dan Peters 09 October 2023

London Councils eyes apprenticeship levy devolution

London Councils eyes apprenticeship levy devolution image
Image: Monkey Business Images / Shutterstock.com.

London Councils has named securing devolution of the apprenticeship levy to its boroughs to fund skills and employment activity as a key short-term priority.

A report to the latest meeting of London Councils’ leaders’ committee said the current rules and restrictions over the low-profile levy - a tax paid by employers with annual payrolls of £3m or more at a rate of 0.5% above that threshold - meant it was ‘not being used as effectively as it could be’.

Bromley LBC’s portfolio holder for renewal, recreation and housing, Yvonne Bear, said: ‘Devolving the apprenticeship levy to each local authority would give more flexibility (including being able to use the levy to support the apprentice’s salary) and would consequently be better than the current rigid/inflexible arrangement.’

Chief executive of think-tank Localis, Jonathan Werran, added: ‘What this could achieve as a policy goal is to equalise skills provision across the country in the hope of attracting footloose companies to invest in left behind areas.

‘Devolving the apprenticeship levy, which hasn’t, to date, fulfilled its original intentions and promise, would put the onus on metro mayors and local leaders to ensure the best use of local expenditure to galvanise the skills agenda.

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