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Mon December 04 2023

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Kier tops list of CITB grant recipients

22 Jul 19 Kier secured more funding from the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) than any other company last year but some of the top recipients are more surprising.

The CITB’s annual report for the year to 31st March 2019 shows where the money goes.  It paid out £115m in grant funding, £263m on ‘charitable activities’ – which includes training & development, and £53m on overheads.

Levy income for the year fell 11% to £188.7m (2017/18: £211.4m) as a result of the levy rate being reduced to 0.35% on direct labour payments (PAYE). It remained at 1.25% on net Construction Industry Scheme (CIS) payments. 

The small business exemption level of £79,999 remained unchanged and the threshold for the small business levy reduction of 50% remained at £399,999.

The number of employers in the levy and grant register was 75,605, compared to 69,070 as at 31st March 2018.

The accounts show the top 15 grant-funding payments made by the CITB during the year to 31st March 2019. Although Kier tops the list, its £3.25m is less than half what it got the previous year.

The University of Wales received CITB funding for its new Construction Wales Innovation Centre in Swansea (built by Kier). CITB chief executive Sarah Beale received an honorary fellowship last week from the University of Wales Trinity Saint David.

Material grant-funding payments
Kier Group £3.246m
Barratt Developments £2.311m
Royal BAM Group £2.263m
University of Wales £2.1m
O’Rourke Investments £1.894m
JRL Group Holdings £1.649m
Mitie Group £1.303m
Home Builders Federation £1.225m
Skanska UK £1.193m
Vinci £1.15m
Persimmon £1.078m
Balfour Beatty £1.063m
Costain Group £1.058m
Taylor Wimpey £963m
Morgan Sindall £891,000
Other recipients £91.709m
Total paid or offset during the year £115.096m

[Source: CITB Annual Report and Accounts 2018/19]

The position of the Home Builders Federation at number eight on the list raised some eyebrows, given that it refuses to pay into the system.

While it might not be surprising to see big firms dominate the list of top recipients, not everyone sees it that way.

Ian Anfield is managing director of Hudson Contract, a firm that provides payroll and contracting services to more than 2,200 construction SMEs. He said: “The latest CITB accounts show that despite commitments made during the last consensus process, CITB continues to favour large businesses and those who lobby for them. They have become less transparent, less accountable, and they continue to waste large amounts of hard earned levy payers money on their own administration.

“Whilst the accounts reveal that the businesses attached to board members enjoyed a 38% profit from the grant and levy scheme, the figures published in previous years which show the return for small businesses are no longer given, probably because historically they pay in double in levy to what they recover in grants.

“The Home Builders Federation moved into the top 15 recipients of grants list, despite not paying a penny in levy, enjoying a £1.2m payout after withdrawing support for the CITB levy in 2018. The whopping grant payment is no doubt aimed at buying support when the CITB is forced to go through its triennial consensus process next year, but it may not be enough. The end of the so called ‘transitional payments’ have seen Kier’s grant payments drop from £6.6m to £3.2m, and the top 15 dropping from £53.9m of grants down to £23m, a loss that the big boys are unlikely to live with.”

CITB chief executive Sarah Beale rebutted: “Sixty-one per cent of CITB grant funding goes to micro, small and medium-sized employers, with more than £69m invested in skills over the past year. In addition, we’ve grown the Skills and Training Fund. In the last year, we have invested over £6m to support 1,300 small firms. This year we aim to reach 1,900 small firms and will introduce a new £4m fund for medium-sized employers next year.    

“We are also focusing on key industry priorities such as attracting more recruits and helping then more workers get into construction. Our recent onsite announcement will see a further £17.8m invested in England, Scotland Wales, ensuring that, together with existing hubs, 31,000 site-ready workers are available for employers of all sizes.”

She added: “The board sets strategy based on a range of evidence of industry priorities to ensure that levy money delivers a meaningful return on investment to micro, small, medium and large employers but CITB employees decide where the money is invested, helping to make sure that Britain’s construction workers get the training they need.”   

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