FIS, the construction trade body representing the finishes and interiors sector and a CITB consensus federation, has voted to reject the CITB’s levy proposals.

Leading trade organisation FIS represents specialist contractors and manufacturers involved in the installation and fit-out of interior systems, facades, ceilings, drywall, partitions and finishes.

FIS has been canvassing its members at a series of regional and special interest group meetings which culminated in a poll of members during September. FIS members voted by 60 per cent to 40 per cent to reject the CITB levy proposal. Turnout was 13 per cent.

David Frise, chief executive at FIS, said: “The vote reflects the views and opinions of FIS members over a sustained period. SMEs in particular are not engaging effectively with training and skills because of the complexity of the grant system and its perceived cost. On average, our members receive 35p back in grant for every pound in levy paid. It’s not surprising, therefore, that members do not see a benefit in continuing with the CITB levy system.

“We conducted an extensive Training Needs Analysis with members in early 2017. This found that the problem of skills shortages will be compounded by an ageing workforce, insufficient new entrants into the sector and the impact of Brexit because high levels of non-UK labour are prevalent.

“FIS supports the BuildUK call for urgent reform of the CITB and will continue to help members develop effective skills and training programmes that attract new entrants into our sector and deliver the qualified workforce our industry both needs and wants.”