Companies will be hit with a stealth tax this month as the apprenticeship levy comes into force. 

While the aim of the government to promote a more skilled labour is admirable, this methodology is questionable. In short, companies will pay a levy, by way of a quasi tax, into a government owned fund. They can then apply for funding for their own individual training programs, via accredited training providers, from this fund. Companies will have 24 months to use their vouchers and a weighting based on location and age of the apprenticeships will be introduced.  

The government should ensure a review of the program is completed to confirm it is fit for purpose, especially as the levy was proposed before the green paper on industrial strategy was produced.

It is important the white paper on industrial strategy addresses concerns on how the levy works, and that the levy is clearly linked to the post-Brexit focus in hi tech manufacturing, as well as the commitments the government is making to, for example, the car OEMs.