AFI News 25/03/24

AFI News 25/03/24


AFI News

Government Support for SMEs

Build UK Chair Julie White joined members from the Midlands at the Government’s Business Connect conference earlier this week, where the Prime Minister announced a package of reforms to support small businesses, including:

  • From 1 April, the Government will fully fund apprenticeships in small businesses by paying the full cost of training for anyone up to the age of 21.
  • The amount of Apprenticeship Levy funds that employers can transfer to other businesses will be increased from 25% to 50%.
  • The Government will increase the thresholds which determine whether a company qualifies as a small or medium‐sized company by 50% and remove a number of reporting requirements.

In what the Government is calling the ‘year of the SME’, it has also established a new Small Business Council, which includes Julie and other SME business leaders from across the UK, to oversee the following key areas for small businesses: access to finance, skills and support, and removing barriers.

Construction Accident Figures

The latest figures issued by the HSE show that falls from height accounted for 23 of the 45 fatal injuries to construction workers in 2022/23. Falls from height were also the most common cause of specified injuries in construction (32%), whereas slips, trips or falls on the same level were responsible for the most over‐7‐day injuries (23%).

Build UK has issued its annual accident survey report for the same period, which shows that Contractor members have lower injury incidence rates than the wider industry. Build UK is the only organisation that collates this data for tier one contractors in construction

Materials Update

The CLC Material Supply Chain Group has confirmed there is good availability across all products, with prices generally increasing by 3 to 4%. Concerns about the impact on products normally transported via the Red Sea have not materialised, although geopolitical risks in East Asia have now been identified as a potential issue by the electro‐technical sector

Changes to Employee Rights

From 6 April, a number of changes to family friendly and flexible working rights come into force and employers are being encouraged to review and update their policies in line with the following:

ACAS will be publishing a Code of Practice in April with guidance on dealing with flexible working requests, and Build UK members can access free advice on employment law issues from Citation by calling 0161 504 0843 or sending an email

stating they are a member of  Build UK via the AFI