Reform of the Apprenticeship Levy crucial, says Eastwood

Alliance Economy spokesperson Sorcha Eastwood MLA has urged the Minister for the Economy to make reforming the Apprenticeship Levy one of his top priorities.

Economy Sorcha Eastwood apprenticeships

Speaking after Economy Minister Conor Murphy outlined his economic vision, Ms Eastwood raised the issue of the Apprenticeship Levy.


The Apprenticeship Levy is a UK Government initiative aimed at funding apprenticeships. It requires many employers to contribute 0.5% of their payroll towards apprenticeship funding, however, despite contributing to the levy, NI does not directly receive funding from it.


The Lagan Valley MLA has said: "I welcome the Minister's commitment to improving skills and placing focus on apprenticeships, but without reform of the Apprenticeship Levy, large businesses continue to, essentially, pay a tax without seeing the benefit of funding going to apprenticeships and skills development here.


"It is estimated that NI employers contribute around £80m through the Levy, and those in construction are paying a levy twice. Given the challenging budgetary landscape, those are essential funds for apprenticeship development.

"With that in mind, I welcome the Minister agreeing to consider options around this, and ask him to go further still in developing our own ring-fenced skills fund.
"If we are serious about growing apprenticeship opportunities and prioritising them as a key economic driver, the levy must be reformed."