The Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers (ALMR) has warned that Apprenticeship Levy proposals would disrupt investment and increase the burdens on businesses.
The ALMR has called for the Government to use incentives, rather than a levy, to encourage investment and benefit business of all sizes.
ALMR chief executive Kate Nicholls said: 'Our annual employment survey shows that per-employee investment in training has fallen by nearly 50% over the last year, despite a 32% increase in the number of apprenticeship starts. Falling margins have meant that non-essential training for non-apprentices has been scaled back. An additional employment levy is only likely to exacerbate this problem.
'The proposed levy opts for a one size fits all approach that totally fails to consider businesses' size, market, or trading style. The ALMR has repeatedly called for steps to incentivise training and apprenticeship take-up via additional funding and scrapping of employer NICs for under-25s. A tax credit regime whereby companies who make an investment have the ability to offset it against PAYE liabilities would incentivise employee investment and allow businesses to focus on addressing their own skills shortages.'
The ALMR is the latest trade body to criticise the plans, which would see UK employers pay towards apprenticeship training nationally. The British Beer and Pub Association said earlier this week that small businesses such as pubs and bars should be excluded from the Government’s proposals for the new levy, which it says should apply to companies of 250 employees or more only.
It comes as the result on a consultation on the issue, in which the Government was seeking views on how to ensure employers get out more than they contribute, how to pay the levy, and how best to give employers control of apprenticeships. No amount or form of collection has yet been put forward.