FBUK Responds to “Huge fall in Apprenticeships”

In response to an article in The Times titled “Huge fall in apprenticeships under broken levy” regarding the apprenticeship levy, FBUK’s Chief advocacy officer, Fiona Graham, said;

“The latest research from the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) reinforces our long-standing argument that the apprenticeship system is simply not working”.

“We hear from family businesses on a daily basis how the system is too complicated, inflexible and burdensome”.

“Family businesses want to train young people and upskill their workforces, but administrative complexities discourage businesses from taking on apprentices. Money, a staggering £4.4billion, that could be used for training is instead returned to the Exchequer without being touched”.

“Quite simply, the current system is holding back the immense potential of family businesses by failing to equip future workforces with the skills, training and support they need, where they need it”.

“To deliver a skills regime that is fit for the future, we need an overhaul of the employee training landscape by refocusing the Apprenticeship Levy and making the skills landscape work for businesses and individuals”.

Future Skills Fund

“The current skills and apprenticeship system needs to be revamped and replaced with a more holistic Future Skills Fund. This fund would provide greater flexibility on how money can be used to encompass apprenticeship support, training and development for existing employees.

“This would allow businesses to use the allocated funding on a wider range of training options and opportunities. Transitioning to a Future Skills Fund would also give businesses greater flexibility and opportunity to use funding for the skills and technical expertise they need. It would better equip local schools and colleges to provide training and skills relevant to the needs of local employers and communities”.

The Future Skills Fund would provide a better deal for employers and employees a number of ways:

➤ Providing greater flexibility in the use of the Fund to support life-long learners and apprentices to study, for example through support of transport or living costs.

➤ Removing barriers between the nations of the UK to ensure money can be spent where it is most needed, not necessarily where it is paid.

➤ Giving businesses a greater say in the development of the local skills landscape and supporting career-long skills development and learning, including when re-entering the workforce after a period of absence.”


Family Business UK is a growing body of Family Businesses working together to create a more prosperous and sustainable future for generations to come.
Find out more FBUK today : www.familybusinessuk.org

Read the 2024 Family Business Manifesto in full here

Family Business UK response to Spring Budget 2024

Fiona Graham, Chief Advocacy Officer at Family Business UK responding to the Spring Budget said:

“With challenges facing them on multiple fronts, the family business community has been waiting on tenterhooks about what support the Chancellor would offer to help kickstart the economy.

“While there were incremental improvements on full expensing and VAT thresholds, sadly today’s announcement lacked the strong long-term vision for family firms to help them grow and provide more opportunities within the communities in which they operate.  With the recent  appointment of a new SME Council by the Government, we hope to see continued engagement with the family business community and more policies  for long term support in due course.

“On pensions the Chancellor mentioned moving ahead with the Mansion House Reforms.

“In the election year it’s essential that some of existing reforms around defined benefit pension scheme surplus sharing and consolidation keep moving ahead, and don’t come to a halt because of the election.”

Read the 2024 FBUK Budget submission

You can find the full Spring Budget, and accompanying documents, here.

Beyond the Headlines

There were updates to existing policies within the accompanying documents which will be of interest to many family firms, including:

  • Further details on six Investment Zones in Greater Manchester, Liverpool City Region, North East of England, South Yorkshire, West Midlands and Tees.  Find out more here.
  • Levelling up funding and UK Community Renewal Fund updates.  Find out more here.
  • The Government’s response to changes around Agricultural Property Relief (APR) where land is being put to environmental uses.  FBUK has engaged with HM Treasury and HMRC on this issue, and the need to update legislation to ensure family landowners are not penalised for tackling part in environmental schemes, as promoted by other parts of Government policy.  You can find the response to the consultation here
  • The Chancellor also announced the Government’s intention to regulate the provision of Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) rating providers.  More information here.
  • HM Treasury and DLUHC published their response to a consultation on Business Rates Avoidance and Evasion

Summary of Announcements


  • 2p cut to employee National Insurance, from ten percent to eight percent.
  • Self-employed National Insurance will be cut from eight percent to six percent.
  • The non-domiciled tax status will be scrapped and replaced with a residency-based system from April 2025, raising £2.7bn in tax revenue a year by 2028/29.
  • Fuel duty 5p cut will be maintained for a further 12 months.
  • Alcohol duty freeze extended until 1 February 2025.  Abolish the furnished holiday lettings regime.
  • Abolish stamp duty relief on the purchase of multiple dwellings in one transaction.
  • Reduce the higher 28 percent rate of Capital Gains Tax on property to 24 percent.
  • Fuel duty 5p cut will be maintained for a further 12 months.  


  • Planned legislation for full expensing to apply to leased assets.
  • From April 1, increasing the VAT registration threshold from £85,000 to £90,000.
  • £200m of funding to extend the Recovery Loan Scheme as it transitions to the Growth Guarantee Scheme.
  • New powers for The Pensions Regulator and the Financial Conduct Authority to ensure better value from defined contribution (DC) pension schemes.
  • Introducing new requirements for DC and local government pension funds to disclose publicly their level of international and UK equity investment.
  • Introduce the British ISA with an additional £5000 tax free allowance for investments in UK equity.
  • £270m for advanced manufacturing, to be spent on innovative automotive and aerospace R&D projects.
  • Up to £120m more will be allocated to the Green Industries Growth Accelerator to build supply chains for new technology such as offshore wind and carbon capture.
  • Extend the energy profit levy, the “Windfall Tax”, to 2029 to raise an additional £1.5bn.
  • Abolish the energy profit levy if the energy market price falls back to a historic norm for a sustained period.