Business call for Apprenticeship Levy clarification or postponement

Scottish Chambers of CommerceThe introduction of the Apprenticeship Levy in Scotland should be postponed until April 2018 amid growing evidence that not enough businesses are prepared for the tax, the Scottish Chambers of Commerce (SCC) said today.

The SCC has called on the UK government to consider the postponement after accusing the Scottish Government of failing to provide a “clear plan” on how businesses in Scotland will be impacted.

Its intervention comes as a survey by British Chambers of Commerce found nearly 40 per cent of businesses across the UK have no understanding or have not heard of the levy, with just over six months to go until it is introduced.

Liz Cameron, chief executive of Scottish Chambers of Commerce, said: “A UK-wide report has today been published by the British Chambers of Commerce, which shows that almost 40 per cent of businesses have no understanding, or haven’t heard of, the Apprenticeship Levy – a new tax on many medium to large employers, which is due to be introduced in April next year.

“Here in Scotland, the position is even more confused as, with just over six months before the tax is scheduled to come into force, the Scottish Government has failed to put forward any clear plan on how Scottish businesses will be affected.  This is why organisations such as Oil and Gas UK have expressed their deep concerns about the current position.

“This situation is completely unacceptable. No matter where a business is based in the UK, it should by now have a clear understanding of what the Apprenticeship Levy is, who will be paying it and what they can expect to see in terms of additional skills and apprenticeship provision in return.  This is clearly not the case, particularly in Scotland and unless the situation is rectified quickly, then the basis for the introduction of the tax is undermined and its introduction in Scotland should be postponed until April 2018.”

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