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Firms' training grants cut by 10%

Training grants have been cut by 10%, with effect from August 1, to ensure CITB-ConstructionSkills can keep giving funding to businesses as the recession deepens.
Firms
Industry training board CITB-ConstructionSkills has levy-raising powers to fund training in the construction industry but high demand for grants from businesses has led to forecasts that the levy income will drop more than expected in 2010, forcing the board to review its grants scheme.

With the knowledge that its levy income may not recover to current levels until 2014, the board ratified proposals pushed by the industry to cut grant rates by 10%.

All firms can pay a levy. If a business pays a levy it is entitled to receive a supplementary payment from CITB-Construction Skills, but the changes mean this payment will also be reduced from 25% to 10% across the board. (With the exception of apprenticeship and undergraduate grant rates which will remain the unaffected).

'The decisions that have been ratified by the board are necessary if we want to guarantee funding for business critical training in the long term', said Chris Jones, chair of the grants scheme working party and a training committee member.

He added: 'In an ideal world, we wouldn't reduce grant rates, but the recession is forcing businesses to make tough decisions and unfortunately, we are no different. This has been a very tough decision - regrettable but essential in the current climate.'

In 2008, 23,500 employers claimed grants of £176m to fund business training but this was £20m more than planned - a situation the board said was unsustainable.

The forecast grants spend for 2009 is £165m. For every £1 of Levy collected, CITB-ConstructionSkills still plan to return £1 to industry in training grants and business support.

For details about the 2009/10 Grants Scheme visit www.cskills.org
3 July 2009

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