To ask the Secretary of State for Education, a) what estimate he has made of the amount of unspent funds in employers’ accounts under the Apprenticeship Levy; for what reasons those funds remain unspent; and whether he has plans to extend the period of time within which levy-paying employers can use those funds.
At the end of September, the total balance of employers’ Apprenticeship Service accounts was £2.7 billion, which includes government top-ups. This will change as payments are made in and out of apprenticeship service accounts. Some of these funds are already committed.
The apprenticeships programme (and therefore the expenditure) is demand-led. Employers choose which apprenticeships they want to offer, how many apprentices they want to employ and when they want them to begin. We do not anticipate that all employers who pay the levy will need or want to use all the funds in their accounts.
Levy-paying employers have up to 24 months in which to spend the funds available to them. The 24 month expiry period is designed to give employers time to develop their apprenticeship programmes whilst encouraging employers to take action to create new apprenticeship opportunities. We currently have no plans to extend the expiry period.