From April 2017, HMRC will be levying a charge of 0.5% of your payroll via real time PAYE reporting every month. This will affect all companies in all industries, but there will be a £15,000 annual allowance to offset against the charge. Therefore, if you’re a small company with a wage bill of less than £3million per year, you won’t have to pay anything. However as there’s no upper limit, the impact on bigger employers will be significant. Some of the largest UK Screen members, particularly those in the VFX sector could end up contributing as much as £200k each per year into the levy pot.
The government claim that those companies that pay the levy will be able to get more out than they put in, as their “digital accounts” will get a top-up of 10%. Smaller companies that are under the £3m threshold will be able to access training money that is co-funded by 90% by the government. However the funds can only be used to claim the off-site training and assessment costs on accredited courses from accredited providers. They can’t be used to pay for course development, which is a big problem for the film and TV sector as there is a dearth of accredited courses.
UK Screen would like to see:
This process was managed by BIS and was slow, hugely inneficient and frustrating. When it transfers to the Institute of Apprenticeships, UK Screen wants to see greater opportunity for industry involvement in the sign-off process for course accreditation. There also needs to be greater clarity and certainty in policy so that employers aren't frustrated trying to find continually moving goalposts.
Currently this is not allowed, but for the VFX and post sector, the cost of development of highly specialised courses for relatively small cohorts is a barrier.
There is a danger that unspent funds will leach away from the Creative Sector. Underspends should be redirected to fund existing succesful initiatives such as Trainee Finder.More on UK Screen Alliance