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Balfour Beatty backs down on CITB vote

15 Sep 17 Britain’s biggest construction company has decided to vote to retain the Construction Industry Training Board levy after all.

Balfour Beatty chief executive Leo Quinn
Balfour Beatty chief executive Leo Quinn

Balfour Beatty chief executive Leo Quinn said last month that he was minded to vote against the renewal of the CITB’s levy mandate, but he has now been persuaded to change his mind.

Leo Quinn said last month that the CITB had shown itself incapable of delivering the workforce that the construction industry needs.

However, since then, Balfour Beatty has held a number of further meetings with the CITB and has today released this statement:

“The CITB has now provided Balfour Beatty with appropriate assurances and preliminary details about the reforms. It has demonstrated that it understands the urgency and magnitude of change necessary to create a CITB which will better meet the needs of the UK construction industry and help create the skilled workforce necessary to deliver the enormous pipeline of planned works.

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“Balfour Beatty believes that further work on the governance of the CITB is necessary. We are willing to work constructively, with the CITB and our industry partners, to ensure that the CITB has governance which is fit for purpose as soon as is practical.

“It is unsatisfactory that the vote on the consensus is taking place before full publication of the reform plans. This has meant that industry has had to vote without having the detail it needs to make an informed decision.  Nonetheless, in light of the assurances received from the CITB and its management Balfour Beatty has decided to vote in favour of the consensus to enable the CITB to rapidly deliver on these commitments.”

CITB chief executive Sarah Beale said: “We welcome today’s announcement from Balfour Beatty and agree that CITB’s reforms must make us more accountable to industry.  Our discussions with Balfour Beatty reflect how we want to go forward with industry, with open lines of communication and agreed outcomes. There is no doubt change needs to happen.  All levy payers should know that we are listening to them and will adapt to support their needs now and in the future.”

While Balfour Beatty was threatening to vote against CITB consensus, there was a real possibility that the industry training structure could be brought to the ground. It now seems, however, that CITB leaders are winning the battle for industry hearts and minds and now appear likely to win their vote. CITB will publish the results of consensus at the beginning of November 2017.

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