Construction body is failing the self-employed

A Committee of construction experts, companies and renowned academics, has today (Monday 12 December) responded to a new survey, which shows the self-employed receive very little on-the-job training compared to employees.

The Construction Policy Advisory Committee, CPAC, which includes the construction industry’s largest Professional Workplace Audit & Contract Service, Hudson Contract, looks at the key policy issues within the construction sector and reports their views to the Board of the Association of Independent Professionals and the Self Employed, IPSE.

The survey, looking at SME views on the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) levy, shows that firms are much more likely to train their employees than those engaged on a self-employed basis: four per cent of sub-contractors (self-employed individuals), compared to 30 per cent of employees. CPAC sees this as a huge imbalance.

A huge proportion of the CITB levy is collected for the work of self-employed construction workers. To fund the grant and levy system, the CITB charges construction employers a rate of 0.5 per cent for an employee, and for reasons unclear, 1.25 per cent for a self-employed person. Therefore, the levy’s income is disproportionately reliant on the 750,000 self-employed construction workers in the UK.

The CITB should review the levy’s fitness for purpose in delivering effective training to the construction industry and ensure a level playing field for the self-employed. If it weren’t for the availability of these highly skilled flexible workers, many infrastructure projects simply wouldn’t get off the ground.

It is imperative the self-employed are able to access training if Government wants to deliver its Industrial Strategy.

Chair of the CPAC, David Jackson, said: “Considering how much the construction industry relies on its flexible workforce, the CITB should be doing more to look out for them.

“Yet we see a levy in place that is disproportionally weighted to raise more on the work of the self-employed than employees. The contribution from the self-employed accounts for around two thirds of the total pot – around £160 million. The CITB must sort this out – or the Government needs to step in and change this inexplicable practice.

"Equal access to training for the self-employed is absolutely vital if the construction industry is to thrive and deliver the Government’s ambitious infrastructure and house building programmes.”

The survey, looking at the views of SMEs on the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) levy, was commissioned by Hudson, with support from the Association of Independent Professionals and the Self Employed (IPSE), and the Federation of Master Builders (FMB). For more information visit



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