Responding to the Spring Budget on 11 March 2020, Stephen Evans, chief executive of Learning and Work Institute, said:
“This budget rightly focuses on responding to Coronavirus, and also sets out a large increase in infrastructure spending to underpin future growth. But alongside investing in physical infrastructure, we need to invest in people too. If we want to see a levelling up of prosperity across the UK, we need to invest in skills. New investment in the National Skills Fund is welcome, but with the number of adults improving their skills at a record low we need to go further.
“Our research has highlighted how the apprenticeship budget is under growing pressure, with a funding gap of up to £1 billion. Large employers are using more of their apprenticeship levy funds than forecast, which means there is less left-over for small and medium-sized businesses who don’t pay the levy.
“The Chancellor has said that sufficient funding will be made available next year to support SMEs to increase the number of apprenticeships. We need either more funding or changes to how the levy works. The Spending Review will need to set out how we avoid a creeping rationing of funding for apprenticeships at SMEs.”