Housebuilders overwhelmingly reject CITB levy

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The Home Builders Federation (HBF) revealed that 89 per cent of its members had voted against the continuation of the CITB levy as part of its triennial vote, with the federation saying the ballot marked a clear “vote of no confidence” from housebuilders.

Among the frustrations with the CITB listed by the HBF was its “overly bureaucratic nature” and the way the current system allowed housebuilders to claim back only a fraction of the levy it paid in to the training body.

The federation also said the CITB’s current proposals focus more narrowly on core construction skills, claiming many members could see reductions in the proportions of their workers that receive support despite paying levy on their whole workforces.

Construction News reported last month that the industry’s biggest housebuilders had lined up to vote against continuing their support for the CITB levy.

HBF executive chairman Stewart Baseley said: “The vote demonstrates the frustrations housebuilders feel with the CITB and the training regime currently in place.

“The industry simply does not feel that the CITB is providing the support and framework it needs to train its staff, despite the huge amounts being paid in levy by home builders.

“We hope this will be the wake-up call the CITB needs to drive root-and-branch change through its entire organisation.”

To coincide the news of its result, the HBF also announced it would be launching a new Home Building Skills pledge which commits all of the country’s biggest housebuilders and its subcontractors to recruit and train more people to the highest industry-agreed standards.

The HBF is the latest federation to reveal the result of its vote, which saw members balloted on whether to back the CITB levy past April next year.

It joins the Scottish Building Federation, the Scottish Decorators’ Federation and FIS, the body representing firms in the interiors and finishes sector, in voting against the training body.

However, the Plant Hire Association, the Civil Engineering Contractors Association, the Federation of Master Builders and Build UK, which represents the largest voting bloc, have all voted to back the continuation of the levy.

The CITB is now waiting on the result of the vote from its 6,000 non-affiliated levy-payers, which represent around half of the vote, with a result expected in the next couple of weeks.

Last week the deadline closed for the consensus voting process and a decision on whether the CITB will continue is expected in the next couple of weeks.

However, all of the bodies that have voted have called for an overhaul of the way the CITB operates and is governed.

Suggested measures include better representation of SMEs on the CITB board, greater transparency and more regular scrutiny of the body’s operation, as well as further devolution of the body to ensure Scotland is given more autonomy over its skills provision.

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