By 2019-20, we will be spending £2.5 billion on apprenticeships in England every year through the apprenticeship levy. In this Budget, we have given employers more flexibility to deploy it as they see best.
My hon. Friend is right. We know that people with STEM skills have higher earnings. That is why we put more money into the maths premium last year to encourage more students to study that subject from 16 to 18. This year, we have launched a new programme to enable the better retention of maths and physics teachers in our schools.
What the Chancellor announced in his Budget speech is the fact that we are giving employers more flexibility over apprenticeships, which they have asked for, and we are seeing more and more people going into high-level apprenticeships under this Government.
We put £20 million into the national retraining scheme, and I am very much looking forward to visiting my hon. Friend in Oxfordshire to see some of those fantastic businesses in situ.
The hon. Gentleman is absolutely right: we want to encourage more small and medium-sized enterprises to take on apprenticeships. That is why we have reduced the level from 10% to 5% for co-investment, which will encourage more small firms to get involved, as well as extending the amount that can be used down the supply chain.