A recent interview between FE Week editor Nick Linford and the skills minister Anne Milton revealed how much cash the Treasury clawed back in the financial year to April 2018.
Milton replied he “can’t give exact figures”, and referred the question to Keith Smith, director of apprenticeship at the Education and Skills Funding Agency, who said it was “just over £300 million”.
Following the interview, the Treasury refused to comment and the DfE refused to say exactly how much over £300 million they had to give back.
The admission comes despite concerns that small employers are struggling to find providers with sufficient non-levy funds and that the overall levy budget is on track to significantly overspend in the coming years.
Lord Agnew of Oulton had revealed in response to a parliamentary question last month that the Department for Education spent £1.6 billion in 2017/18 to fulfil employers’ demand for apprenticeships, but “lower than anticipated demand” led to an underspend of £400 million. However, the Treasury “made available a portion…for programmes in future financial years”.
The FE sector has been quick to react to the loss of funding from the education budget, saying it’s “not right” and “desperately disappointing” that the unspent money has been taken by the Treasury instead of being spent on funding apprenticeships for small employers.
You can find the full details of the interview here