18 June 2018
Sam Roberts, PFEW’s lead for Wales, speculates on what has happened to the £3m collected from the four forces in Wales , their contribution to the Apprentice Levy.
Four weeks ago, at the Police Federation of England and Wales’s (PFEW) annual conference, I had the opportunity to publicly ask Sajid Javid, the Home Secretary, if he could investigate what had happened to £3m which the four police forces in Wales have contributed to the Apprenticeship Levy, their obligation to help fund the government backed training scheme.
You may recall that the Apprenticeship Levy was announced in the Summer Budget of 2015 and was described in a government statement as being “a levy on UK employers to fund new apprenticeships. In England, control of apprenticeship funding will be put in the hands of employers through the Digital Apprenticeship Service. The levy will be charged at a rate of 0.5% of an employer’s paybill.” The levy (an employment tax) was chargeable on employers with an annual paybill in excess of £3m, and was payable from April 2017.
I have now spoken to the Home Office, MPs, Welsh Assembly Ministers and the First Minister. I’ve spoken to the four Welsh police chiefs and to the four Police and Crime Commissioners (PCCs) and at our Conference, the Home Secretary.
Over a year after the levy came into place, and having collected £3m from the four forces in Wales, the consistency between all those that I have spoken to is that no one knows where the money has gone!
My increasing concern is that the forces in Wales, having made the levy payments during the course of the last year, will now have to make up any shortfall in training funding that the Levy was supposed to provide. At a time when police funding budgets continue to be squeezed it is unacceptable that the money is not being made available to help fund the training of police officers in Wales.
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