It is particularly unfair on schools that are local authority maintainedby Valentine Mulholland / January 16, 2017 / Leave a comment
In August 2015, David Cameron pledged to deliver three million new apprenticeships by 2020: an extremely ambitious target with very little funding available to support it. Almost inevitably, therefore, a policy tool was developed to ensure that employers would fund these apprenticeships through a new tax: the apprenticeship levy.
From May 2017, all employers with payroll costs of over £3m will have to pay a 0.5 per cent a year apprenticeship levy into a digital account set up by HMRC. They can then access those funds for the training and assessment part of recognised, accredited apprenticeships and if they do this, the government will top up their levy funds. However, any levy that they don’t spend within 18 months will be lost to them and clawed back by HMRC. Those funds that have been clawed back will be available for smaller employers who don’t have to pay the levy, and also for larger employers that would like more funding.
For schools, this new obligation is a disaster. The National Association of Head Teachers first reported in the autumn of 2015 that school budgets are at breaking point. This came as a surprise to many outside the education sector as the schools budget has been perceived to have been protected since 2010. The National Audit Office’s recent report into the “Financial sustainability of schools” published in December confirmed the illusion of that protection, as although the overall school budget is protected in real terms on a per pupil basis, there is no provision for it to increase in line with inflation.