CITB claims victory in High Court training levy ruling

The High Court has handed down its judgment in what is the latest development in the ongoing legal dispute between Knot Builders Ltd (formerly Hudson Contract Services Ltd) and the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB).

CITB has argued for years that Hudson Contract is liable to pay the statutory training levy, which CITB collects and applies to all employers “engaged wholly or mainly in construction industry activities”.

The organisation welcomed last weeks High Court ruling as “substantially in its favour”, highlighting the court’s rejection of two of the three grounds raised by KBL for Judicial Review.

In dismissing these primary issues, the court referred to “fanciful and opportunistic” submissions by KBL, and to the “cynicism” of certain arguments advanced.

A spokesperson for CITB said: “CITB is the custodian of the construction industry levy and must ensure any funding derived from the levy is available to those employers that qualify. It is therefore vitally important that CITB applies a fair, consistent, and level playing field in the way levy is collected and funding distributed.

“KBL’s continued attempts to avoid its levy liability and then to claim £28m of grant in a claim that has been substantively dismissed has resulted in three years of litigation at the expense of the industry. The funding protected by CITB by this ruling will enable CITB to further invest to support the construction industry to have a skilled, competent and inclusive workforce now and in the future.”

Hudson Contract’s managing director Ian Anfield said: “KBL’s dispute with the CITB grant and levy scheme is not over yet.”

Both CITB and KBL have sought permission to appeal the judgment.

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