The Road Haulage Association is concerned that many transport companies are still unaware that they will be required to pay a new tax from April 2017, called the apprenticeship levy.
“It has become clear that while most firms know there are new industry apprenticeships, many are unaware that at the same time they are going to be taxed,” the RHA’s Deputy Policy Director for Employment & Skills, Colin Snape, said. “The apprenticeship levy is not only relevant to very large companies. All firms with total gross payroll costs exceeding £3 million at consolidated group level will have to pay.
“That means this new tax, which is currently set at 0.5% of payroll cost above the £3 million threshold, will hit haulage firms with roughly 80 trucks or more, or those with a smaller fleet if they have other activities within the business, such as van operations, warehousing, workshop or other activities. And we cannot rule out the possibility of that £3 million threshold being reduced in future years.
“The only way firms can avoid simply losing the money they pay in this new tax is to get it back as funding for an apprenticeship. The new Trailblazer apprentices such as LGV driver, warehouse operative and supply chain operative (for those working in the traffic office) are well funded from April next year. Some RHA members are considering establishing their own in-house training operation, while others are seeking out local training providers.
Colin Snape said he expected that levy payers would make up most of first wave of interest in the new Trailblazer apprenticeships, but that firms of all sizes would follow close behind. Companies with payroll of less than £3m escape paying the levy, but will be able fully to access funding for apprenticeships, and there are even better packages for small companies. While the levy is unwelcome, he added, the “RHA is working to ensure the industry takes full advantage of what should be an important new opportunity for firms of all sizes to take better control of the recruitment and training of staff.”