On Thursday, 25 June 2020, the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) announced three significant updates affecting the shopfitting, fit-out and interior contracting sector:
1. Levy liability
As a result of the Coronavirus pandemic, the CITB implemented a levy holiday. However, because the levy is enshrined in law, it has not been able to stop collection altogether. The CITB has advised that it has been exploring ways to cut levy collection, recognising the cash-flow challenges that industry faces. The briefing provided to the NAS states:
We are asking for no Levy payments until September and then employers will have a choice to pay up-front or over a 12 month period to August 2021. In addition, next year’s Levy bills will be delayed and cut by 50%. This bill can also be paid in one go, or spread over September 2021 – February 2022. This means an overall Levy cut of 25% across two years. Levy collection will then return to ‘normal’ rates and collection periods from March 2022.
An example of what collection will look like for employers has also been provided:
2. CITB consensus
The CITB has confirmed that it has taken the decision to suspend the consensus process and have agreed this with the Department for Education (DfE). Consensus was due to take place in 2020, having last been completed in 2017. The NAS is a Prescribed Organisation and represents the views of its members in response to the CITB’s levy proposals. The briefing provided to the NAS states:
In our conversations with employers and Federations, many said that they want us to focus full-time on helping the industry meet the challenges posed by Covid. We have therefore taken the decision to suspend the consensus process and have agreed this with the Department for Education.
Instead we will speak to employers and industry groups to seek your views on our plans for next year. This summer, we will seek the industry’s views on the required skills strategy for 2021-23 and the Levy to fund it. We will then submit new Levy Proposals to the Department for Education to enable it to present a new Levy Order to Parliament.
3. Skills Stability Plan 2020-21
This is the CITB’s business plan for the current financial year, to March 2021. The CITB has reported that levy income is due to fall by £166m over a two-year period, and the Plan sets out how the levy collected will be put to use. The briefing provided to the NAS states:
Our main emphasis will be on supporting apprenticeships and on direct funding for employers’ skills needs through the Grants scheme and the Skills and Training Funds, but you’ll see the full range of our plans and our financial commitments in the plan itself.
The full plan can be accessed here: CITB Skills Stability Plan 2020-21