Apprenticeship Levy may be little help to areas like Yorkshire

Questions have been raised as to whether the Government’s Apprenticeship Levy, introduced earlier this month, will serve to entrench the UK’s north/south divide.

The Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) recently published analysis which suggests that the levy – which applies to employers with more than 250 staff – will disproportionately benefit London.

By contrast, regions of the UK in most need of support – typically those affected by deindustrialisation – will see the least impact.

Clare McNeil, the IPPR’s associate director for work and families, said: “The Government has said that it wants to break down the barriers to social mobility faced by young people in this country.

“It is clear to see that young people outside of London and the south-east face a much harder time finding a first job or training opportunity – particularly those not going on to university.

“It is extraordinary then that the Government has not analysed the regional impact of its new apprenticeships policy, which is likely to boost investment in training precisely in those areas where employment is higher, such as in London and the south-east, leaving unemployment hotspots in the north-east or Yorkshire with proportionately less funding.”

Responding to criticisms, the Apprenticeships and Skills Minister Robert Halfon, said: “I have been clear that everyone should benefit from our reforms to apprenticeships and there is no evidence of a north-south divide.

“We currently have the highest number of apprentices on record, with 900,000 this parliament and with numbers consistently high across the whole country.”

Hethertons’ Business Support Unit offers legal advice on a range of issues relevant to companies. For further advice on how we can assist your business, please contact Simon Crack.

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