The Levy Order was affirmed by both Houses of Parliament, without opposition. The Statutory Instrument came into force on 21st July and is available on legislation.gov.uk.
The Order maintains the levy rates of 0.33% of the earnings paid by employers to off-site employees and 1.2% of the earnings paid by employers to on-site employees for businesses liable to pay the levy. The rates will be applied to levies raised in 2023-25 and will be payable in 2024, 2025 and 2026 respectively.
Recognising the budgetary pressures on small businesses, the Order retains the current exemption thresholds. Engineering construction employers with an annual wage bill of less than £1 million for off-site employees will not pay any levy. Employers with an average wage bill of less than £275,000 for on-site employees will also be exempted from paying the levy. These employers will nevertheless continue to be eligible to receive training grants if they are in-scope to the ECITB.
Leading the Grand Committee debate in the House of Lords, Baroness Barran, Parliamentary Under-secretary of state at the Department for Education said: “[the ECITB] has a clearly defined role in identifying engineering construction skill needs and plays a part, with others, in addressing them.
“The ECITB has a role in addressing any market failure through its levy and grants system, which gives employees essential skills necessary to access and work on engineering construction sites, drive up skill levels and incentivise training that otherwise simply would not take place.”
Minister Halfon also remarked on the importance of the ECITB’s levy and grant system, saying: “…if the levy were to cease, there would likely be a serious deterioration in the quality of training, creating a deficiency in skill levels and capacity and, crucially, leaving the sector unable to deliver key projects vital to the UK’s economic growth.”