5 December 2013

Today’s announcement by George Osborne that he will be changing how apprenticeships are funded, with money going directly to employers, may seem positive at first glance, but has all the hallmarks of being a disaster for small businesses.

 “Our members, who mostly run small and micro hairdressing salons and barber shops, have expressed strong reservations about the extra administrative burden of switching to a direct payment system. Salon owners are very clear they’d prefer the current system, where payments go to training providers, to continue.

“Some of the changes mooted, such as a mandatory cash contribution by employers and the use of the PAYE tax system could be extremely problematic for our industry. There also seems to be a lot of uncertainty and confusion about how the proposed model will actually work. We urge the government urgently to engage with industry representatives such as the NHBF to clarify its intentions and ensure the concerns and priorities of small business owners are properly addressed.

“For most salon owners having to administer apprenticeship funding will be an unnecessary distraction from running their businesses, and will simply be one more thing on the already too long ‘to-do’ list small business owners face every day.”