The CBI will call for a “radical rethink” of the government’s apprenticeship levy as it claims firms are being “kept in the dark”.

The group claims firms are not being told about key details and has suggested it was touch-and-go whether the launch next April would be delayed, City AM reported.

In a speech today, CBI director-general Carolyn Fairbairn will say: “Firms are passionate about apprenticeships, and it’s this passion which drives deep frustration over the levy plans as they currently stand. We are calling for a radical rethink.”

The levy, first unveiled last year, will be a tariff on employers to fund new apprenticeships. Large employers will pay a levy of 0.5% of their employment costs, which will go into a central fund to pay for apprenticeship training.

Retailers are among those that have expressed concern about the new scheme