MP calls for answers in police apprenticeship levy dispute

8th February 2018 at 14:02
Despite paying into the apprenticeship levy, so far Welsh police forces have yet to benefit from their contribution

The apprenticeship levy has exposed a "potentially devastating funding dispute" between the Welsh and UK governments over police training.

Plaid Cymru MP Ben Lake said it was unfair that the four Welsh police forces have to "pay millions into the levy" but cannot use it to train new police officers.

Mr Lake added: “Welsh police forces are already under significant financial pressure. Whether this impasse is a product of incompetence or error, or a consequence of some political gamesmanship, it will mean fewer police officers on Welsh streets.”

Police degree apprenticeships

He raised the issue in a debate on the police grant for England and Wales after fellow Plaid MP Liz Saville Roberts asked the UK Treasury in October if levy funds could be allocated to the College of Policing to train officers.

In June the College of Policing launched a degree apprenticeship programme to train police constables. 

Chief secretary to the Treasury Liz Truss said that, as skills policy is a devolved matter, it was up to the Welsh government to decide how to spend the levy.

No digital accounts

In the debate on Wednesday, Mr Lake said: “The government at this end of the M4 claim that as training is devolved, the Welsh government are responsible for the funding of training and apprenticeships. The Welsh government, on the other hand, claim that the funding of officers’ training and apprenticeships is a matter for Westminster because policing is a reserved matter.”

Unlike in England, where employers can access a digital account which lets them fund apprenticeship training to the value of their levy payment, in Wales levy funds go straight to the devolved administration and training is delivered through the Welsh apprenticeship provider network.

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