Commenting on today’s (8 July) Summer Budget, John Newcomb, managing director of the Builders Merchants Federation (BMF), said the following:

“Apprenticeships are the life blood of our economy. We have been urging the Chancellor of the Exchequer to ensure the future funding provision for apprenticeships is sufficiently attractive to encourage employers to invest in developing new talent and training. The apprenticeship levy is a welcome and much needed boost to this. It means there is a real incentive to take on apprentices.

“The setting of the level of the Annual Investment Allowance to £200,000 by January 2016 and raising the Employment Allowance by £1,000 to £3,000 by April next year will help our SME members, in particular.

“The freezing of fuel is also good news but will be offset by the higher wage bills due to the rise in the Living Wage. Members will be squeezed by this in the short-term especially as the fall in corporation tax to 18% will not take full effect until 2020.”