Great Britain

Government vows to shut loophole that lets fat cat bosses avoid offering thousands of needy kids apprenticeships


A LOOPHOLE which allows fat cat bosses to avoid offering thousands of needy kids apprenticeships will be closed.

Gavin Williamson has written to Britain’s apprenticeships czar to say cash raised via the apprenticeship tax must not be used to pay for MBAs.

It comes amid fury that high-flying city slickers are using the funds to beef up their glittering CVs while many Brits cannot get on to an apprenticeship at all.

Mr Williamson said the vital cash should be used to “kick-start careers or level up skills”.

He has written to Jennifer Coupland, chief executive the Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education, to review the use of the cash for MBAs.

He said: “The levy funds apprenticeships for businesses of all sizes, helping people of all ages and backgrounds make the most of their talents.

“I am committed to maintaining an employer-led system, but I’m not convinced the levy should be used to pay for staff, who are often already highly qualified and highly paid, to receive an MBA.

“I’d rather see funding helping to kick-start careers or level up skills and opportunities.

“That’s why I’ve asked for a review of the senior leader apprenticeship standard to ensure it is meeting its aims.”

Firms with payroll costs of more than £3million have to pay 0.5 per cent tax on their wage bill to help foot the cost of new apprentice training.

Money they don’t use to train their own apprentices goes to the Government.

In his letter, Mr Williamson wrote: “I am unconvinced that having an apprenticeship standard that includes an MBA paid for by the levy is in the spirit of our reformed apprenticeships or provides value for money.

“I question whether an MBA is an essential regulatory or professional requirement to work in this field of senior leadership.

“It is of the utmost importance for the integrity of the programme and the apprenticeships brand that each and every standard meets our highest possible expectations.”

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