In seven months' time (April 2017), all UK employers
with an annual pay bill in excess of £3m will pay an
apprenticeship levy of 0.5% of their annual pay bill through the
PAYE system. The idea is that the levy is paid into an account
through which these employers can access funding for
The levy applies UK-wide, but education and training is a
devolved policy, which means that authorities in each of the UK
nations manage their own apprenticeship programmes. It is
extremely likely that the schemes put in place in England,
Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland for accessing the funding will
all operate differently.
For example, the UK Government's current consultation
includes rules on what the employer can and cannot spend the
apprenticeship funds on. It proposes that the funding can be used
only towards the costs of apprenticeship training and end point
assessment. However, the Scottish Government's consultation,
which closed recently, suggested a more flexible approach which
sees levy funding supporting workforce development more
widely. On the face of it, employers of Scotland-based
employees may be able to use the levy funding to help with
apprentice travel costs or wider workplace training programmes, for
This may be another administrative headache for employers with
cross-border operations and training activities.
It is also proposed that the geographical split will be
calculated based on HMRC's records of the home address of
employees. The UK government and the devolved administrations
say they are working together on the scope for reciprocal funding
arrangements for employees who live in, for example, England but
who may work elsewhere in the UK.
For more information about the apprenticeship levy, see our
The material contained in this article is of the nature of
general comment only and does not give advice on any particular
matter. Recipients should not act on the basis of the information
in this e-update without taking appropriate professional advice
upon their own particular circumstances.
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