In the year ending December 2016, SMEs paid a total of £138.7m in levies. In return, they received £87.8m in grants and other support payments.
If this was a business investment, it would represent a negative return of 37 per cent, a loss that few SME business owners could stomach.
Large companies had a much better deal, paying £59.4m in levies and receiving £52.7m in grants and other support payments.
The following year, things got even better for the major contractors.
Large companies lapped up grants and other support payments totalling £72.6m after paying levies of £63.4m in the 15 months ending March 31 2018.
This represents a very healthy 15 per cent return on investment, a performance to cheer shareholders in the City.
It was a very different tale for the SMEs, which were forced to pay out £147.9m in levies and received just £106.5m in grants and other support payments, representing a loss of 28 per cent.
Those losses deepened last year as SMEs experienced a negative return of 53 per cent. Micro, small and medium companies paid £135m in levies and received grants and other support payments of just £63.7m in the 12 months to March 2019.
The major contractors got off lightly again, paying just £53.5m in levies. Their grants and other support payments fell to £26.9m, a loss which will have offered little consolation for hard-working SMEs because they know CITB will be working hard to compensate the large firms with a more generous return this year.
To illustrate the inequities of this flawed system, look at the overall balance of levies versus grants between 2016 and 2019.