Leaders of the UK’s major construction trade bodies have said that confirmation that the CITB levy will continue must act as the green light for reforms demanded by industry.
CITB today confirmed the successful conclusion of its consensus process, by which it asks industry to endorse payment of the levy for a further three years. More than twice as many contractors favoured retaining the levy than removing it.
The news has been welcomed by industry associations. The British Woodworking Federation, Build UK, Civil Engineering Contractors Association, Federation of Master Builders, Hire Association Europe, National Federation of Builders, and National Federation of Demolition Contractors said that that the consensus confirmation would provide greater certainty for industry about the outlook for training funding.
However the federations reinforced a clear message from members that, while industry had given CITB its support, it expects that this will be followed by prompt action by CITB to reform. In particular, contractors are looking for a refreshed approach to governance that reflects the industry as a whole and its complex supply chain, and for greater certainty about the future of grant funded training and a simpler approach to funding applications.
British Woodworking Federation chief executive Iain McIlwee said: "We welcome the outcome of the consensus process. Our members gave us a clear mandate, but not a vote for the status quo, we are now looking forward to working with a reformed CITB.”
Build UK chief executive Suzannah Nichol said: “We now have a golden opportunity to build on the foundations of CITB, to create a strong, effective skills framework that benefits us all. CITB needs to fundamentally reform and be accountable to the industry, but it can only do that if we all play our part and make sure we are clear in our ambitions and expectations.”
Civil Engineering Contractors Association chief executive Alasdair Reisner said: “Our members were clear that they continued to support CITB, but wanted it to build on the positive moves to reform that we have seen in recent months. Today’s announcement lets that process get underway.”
Federation of Master Builders chief executive Brian Berry said: “We are sending a clear message to CITB that it must reform and it must demonstrate a much better return for the industry than we are currently seeing. The FMB and its members decided on balance to give our backing to CITB to continue, but opinion among FMB members was divided and many of our members remain very sceptical that the Levy is delivering what it should be. Above all, we need to make it easier for small firms to access funding and there must be much better representation of SME contractors within the governance framework of CITB.”
Hire Association Europe managing director Graham Arundell said: “HAE in-scope members have given conditional support to the CITB Levy proposals for 2018-20. We want the pace of change and reform at CITB to be intensified, with a greater level of support for supply chain specialities, such as hire and rental, and for SMEs. A simpler grants system which responds to market needs and not those of a bureaucracy is vital. Nationally, there remains confusion about having both the CITB Levy and an Apprenticeship Levy. We want government and CITB to work together so levy-payers have greater clarity about the respective funds and their allocation.”
National Federation of Builders chief executive Richard Beresford said: “A training board that works with the industry to deliver skills when and where they are needed is construction’s best option.
“CITB’s reforms, coupled with better SME representation to better reflect our industry, could deliver on construction’s potential.”
National Federation of Demolition Contractors chief executive Howard Button said: “The NFDC members have supported the CITB levy order by a clear majority with a strong message that they expect to see promised reforms implemented as soon as possible.”