We all know now that a referendum or General Election that appears to be a formality can produce surprising results. But is it possible that the same thing could happen with the CITB Levy?
The consent process for the CITB to be granted fresh Levy-raising powers for 2018 – 2020 is now underway. This means the CITB has to prove to the Government that at least 51% of the 25,000 construction companies that are obliged to pay support the proposals.
Until now, consent has always been a formality, with proposals rubber-stamped. But could an upset be on the cards this time round?
First of all, you might imagine the CITB would simply ask everyone who’s affected one simple question – Do you support our proposal or not? – with a Yes/No tick box. And yet, according to the CITB, it’s not so straightforward.
More about that in a moment, but first of all, here’s a summary of the new proposals:
According to the CITB, 35% of Levy-payers belong to what’s known as a Consensus Federation. There are thirteen of these, and each one does a block vote – historically in favour of each new set of Levy proposals – on behalf of its members.
CFs that vote on behalf of their members are:
If you belong to one of these – and if you oppose the Levy – get in touch and ask how your CF intends to represent your views this time round.
If you are against the Levy:
It’s possible, your CF will send you something asking for an opinion. If that happens, make sure you don’t inadvertently agree to a Levy proposal that you actually oppose.
We are aware that the National Federation of Builders (NFB) has become the first CF to contact members, asking them if they agree to the new ‘reduced’ Levy rates. Answers are recorded by Survey Monkey. However, you don’t have to prove you are a member to vote (no details are required) so anyone who clicks the link can vote. This effectively makes all votes worthless and – we would hope – ineligible for use by the CITB to demonstrate consent.
The CITB says it is also going to use a research company to attempt to contact 6,000 Levy-paying firms that do not belong to a CF. In practice this is a good idea, but by not sampling every levy payer they are leaving themselves open to accusations of skewing the results.
Managing Director, Hudson ContractMore from this expert
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