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Council leader calls for government support after Norfolk-based CITB job cuts

06:30 13 February 2016

Picture by Mike Page.
Picture shows: Bircham Newtont construction industry training centre from the air.

Picture by Mike Page. Picture shows: Bircham Newtont construction industry training centre from the air.

©Coypright Mike Page, All Rights Reserved Before any use is made of this picture, including dispaly, publication, broadcast, syn

The leader of Norfolk County Council is to write to the government calling for support after a Norfolk-based construction body announced it would cut hundreds of jobs.

George Nobbs said the government’s new apprenticeships levy was a “double whammy” for the construction industry, and warned that housebuilding targets would remain out of reach unless a skills shortage was addressed.

The Construction Industry Training Board has announced a major restructure which will see its workforce fall from 1,400 to 950 by 2018, though it has not yet been decided how many will go at its Bircham Newton headquarters, where 680 people are employed.

Mr Nobbs said he and Saul Humphrey, chair New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership’s Building Growth group, would convene a meeting with business and education chiefs to deal with the challenges facing the centre.

“I can’t blame the Construction Industry Training Board for taking a commercial decision. It seems the apprenticeship levy and the existing CITB levy constitute a double whammy for the construction industry,” he said.

“This really is the law of unintended consequences as a government policy intended to improve skills could end up hitting the facility that supports skills development in one area of the economy crying out for more qualified staff.”

Mr Nobbs will write to Nick Boles, minister with responsibility for construction, to ask what support government can offer and how the skills gap can be bridged.

The CITB is seeking to cut costs, reduce its back-office and move services online in a bid to become more efficient and return more value to the industry, but has said the number of overall training places should not drop.

A spokesman said the apprenticeships levy would have an impact on its own existing levy, but that restructure planning had begun before it was announced.

She added: “There is still much detail yet to be announced about the new levy and following that we will be able to explore how the CITB one can work alongside it.

“However, we will seek a solution that is simple for employers and fair to companies of all sizes.”

How will the apprenticeships levy affected your business? Email mark.shields@archant.co.uk

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2 comments

  • Fair summary in previous comments. Meanwhile the housing crisis worsens, retail sales are falling, billions being wiped off the stock market which will hammer pension funds. Savers losing money because derisory interest rates are eroding capital values. Pensioners having to spend their capital due to poor interest returns. Oil and gas in crisis with 65,000 jobs lost in recent times. Road infrastructure in a state of collapse. Huge fare rises hitting rail commuters when we are already paying the highest fares in Europe for the worst least reliable services. Flood defences failing throughout the country. We continue to pump billions of pounds into the nightmare that is the EU. We see little in return apart from mountains of bureaucracy , aggravation and threats to our lifestyle and national governance. Classic and epic examples of economic mismanagement and political and governmental failure.

    Report this comment

    Grey Fox

    Saturday, February 13, 2016

  • Weren't we going to have a huge building and manufacturing resurgence? This is from the daily mail. Even they are having their doubts "there are also failures. And the most significant of these concerns economic management. Back in 2010, Chancellor George Osborne pledged to eliminate the budget deficit within five years. He failed, and at the time of last year’s election the deficit was stuck at a whopping £75 billion. So Mr Osborne tried again. Last year, he vowed to bring the books into balance by the time of the 2020 General Election. Now this plan lies in ruins, too, and last week a devastating report from the hugely respected Institute for Fiscal Studies warned that this objective was much too ambitious. Mr Osborne has been praised by commentators in the Press for his performance at No 11 in the past six years. But I believe the time has come to re-examine this high reputation. And the truth is, he is by far the most profligate Chancellor in British history. He inherited a national debt of about £1 trillion in 2010. Barring a miracle, this will have almost doubled to £1.8 trillion by the time of the next election.". Wow. Now let's see what the usual Tory trolls have to say.

    Report this comment

    Davidbrian552

    Saturday, February 13, 2016

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