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CHESHIRE BUSINESSES GET TO GRIPS WITH APPRENTICESHIPS LEVY

Employers are becoming more confident in their knowledge of the apprenticeship levy, research by the Institute of Directors (IoD) has shown.  The levy, which helps UK employers fund new apprenticeships, is now easier to understand, according to a survey of 1,141 employers.  And 51% now even say they understand it perfectly - up from 36% in March 2018.

Partner Paul Edwards, said: "Since it was introduced in April 2017, the apprenticeship levy has come under fire from businesses for its complexity and lack of flexibility, but recent updates, particularly from an accounting point of view, have made it more accessible and of much greater benefit to business - and we have seen several clients able to take advantage of it now."

The Government first announced a series of reforms to apprenticeships in October 2017, including changes to the way larger employers that pay the levy can use their funds. From April 2018, levy-paying Cheshire businesses have been able to transfer up to 10% of their training funds to other employers in their supply chain, but this will increase to 25% from April 2019.  This change has been welcomed, but the research showed many businesses would still prefer further reforms to the levy.

Of those who were dissatisfied with the apprenticeships scheme, 60% said their firm would benefit more if they were allowed to use levy funds for other forms of training. Stephen Martin, director-general of the IoD, said: "Looking ahead, we shouldn't shy away from broadening the scope of the levy. Apprenticeships are an immensely valuable tool, but they aren't a one-size-fits-all solution.  Opening out the system to encompass other forms of training would be to the benefit of employer and employee alike."

If you would like advice on how your business might make the most of the apprenticeship levy, contact Paul.Edwards@affordbond.co.uk for further details, or complete the Contact Us form here on our website.  Cheshire Accountants Afford Bond have offices in Nantwich and Wilmslow and employ over 60 staff across Cheshire and south Manchester.