CITB NI – Information to Federations. & all registered companies

CITB GB has announced that they are deferring issuing this year’s Levy invoices.  To avoid confusion, I would like to outline the measures being taken in GB and those being implemented in NI.
I would also like to keep you up to date with the work and considerations we are undertaking here at CITB NI.   

CITB GB Measures

  • CITB GB normally issue their levy invoices in April.  They have, quite rightly, issued a statement that they will be suspending issue of the invoices for 3 months. 
  • This does not mean a 3-month reduction in the 12-month Levy.  It means that invoices will not be issued but the Levy will still be due to be paid.  There is no indication in a reduction in the levy due.

  • CITB NI calculate and issue the annual levy in two instalments, October and February with invoices issued then.  We cannot “suspend” issuing the levy invoice because they have already been issued.
  • Many employers have already paid the whole year Levy to CITB NI.
  • Some employers pay by monthly Direct Debit.  For those paying by DD we are asking that they contact us if they are having difficulty in making these payments and wish to suspend the DD.  Some are continuing to pay to avoid increasing the Levy debt for the future which may cause issues.  The main message here is that we are not pursuing payment of DD’s and outstanding levy arrears where the employer requests a deferment over the next 3 months.
  • Some employers in NI take up the “Option” which means they can have their Levy calculated in accordance with activity within the current year (and not the previous tax year as in most cases).  This means providing a six month return in October, and a further 6 month return in April.  The second call for figures from those electing the Option has just gone out.  Obviously, we understand that companies in shutdown may not be able to access the paperwork to complete their return at the moment.  CITB NI will extend the deadline for those who cannot obtain the necessary information due to office closures.
  • CITB NI has to assess the entire situation not just for the next 3 months but the year or so to come as we and the industry recover from the current circumstances.  In fact, we do not yet know if things will ease in three months’ time or not.  There are many unknowns at the moment.  At this time we are unable to cancel the Levy or provide a period where the Levy will not be charged because we are obliged by Law to collect the “annual levy” and the timing of invoicing is set within the legislation.  We cannot independently provide a “Levy Break” but we do have the ability to change “when” the levy is collected.  That is why two weeks ago our Management team decided that we would delay Levy collection for the next 3 months for those employers who are finding it difficult to pay their outstanding balance.  This was supported by our Board and is being implemented.  We are discussing this with individual employers who have contacted us and are unable to pay their levy yet or are paying by Direct Debit.  This does not mean the levy will not be payable. Just that CITB NI will delay collection of the levy for the next 3 months (until the end of June) at which point we will review the situation.

CITB NI Grants & Support
  • We will be relaxing our three-month condition of grant for training undertaken in 2020 to ensure we can continue to support the industry.
  • We will pay the “employment” portion of the Apprenticeship Grants in two instalments (at 6 months & 12 months) instead of the end of the year.  This is to allow those employers with apprentices to receive support over this period.  We estimate that this could release a much needed £200k worth of grants early to the industry. CITB NI continue to process Grant applications and last week paid £65,000 to employers and will continue to make fortnightly payments for grants approved.
  • We have also agreed with our contractor to provide free Mental Health contact advice and guidance for any In-scope employer or their workforce over the next 3 months.  We are working out the details of this and hope to be able to get the message out to the industry shortly.

Moving Forward
  • We are having discussions with our Sponsoring Department (DfE) regarding our obligations under the controlling Legislation and whether there can be any additional support for the industry during these difficult times.  These discussions are very much at the start of the process and there is no indication that we, or the Department will have any power to change our obligations.  We may need to enlist the support of industry federations with this and will keep you informed of any progress we make.

We are all in this together and CITB NI will work with Industry, the Federations and Government  to support construction employers. 

I hope that we can all work together to achieve not just short-term goals of surviving the shutdown, but a more strategic view of supporting the industry through the current crisis and enabling recovery beyond this.
CITB NI offices in line with government guidance are closed however we continue to work from home.  Our phone lines are not open so please communicate through the following email addresses: – general queries – levy queries – grant queries

Any suggestions on what other measures CITB NI can undertake would be gratefully received.

Barry Neilson
Chief Executive