Apprenticeship levy ‘failing’ Scots retailers
Retail industry leaders have appealed for government action after claiming the apprenticeship levy is “failing” Scottish retailers.
Trade organisation the Scottish Retail Consortium (SRC) said its analysis showed that retail modern apprenticeship starts in Scotland have fallen by 15 per cent in the last year, despite the introduction of the apprenticeship levy by the UK government.
It follows the publication of figures from Skills Development Scotland, which showed that there were 2,263 modern apprenticeship retail starts in 2017-18, down from 2,683 the previous year.
The SRC noted that the figure had fallen from more than 3,000 starts in 2013-14.
The decline comes despite 2017 being the first year that Scottish retailers have been forced to pay the apprenticeship levy.
The SRC has calculated that Scots retailers paid £12 million into the levy pot in 201718. While the levy is a UK government policy, Scottish ministers control what the local revenues are used for.
Ewan Macdonald-russell, SRC head of policy, said: “We now have clear evidence the apprenticeship levy is failing Scottish retailers. Instead of supporting skills and training, this has become an employment tax, penalising businesses for employing workers.
“Government needs to help retailers transition to a more productive business model by putting in place employerfriendly training and development structures. It’s time for UK and Scottish ministers to admit the current approach isn’t working.” 0 Ewan Macdonaldrussell, SRC head of policy