Grants and Business Rates Relief for Recruitment Businesses

It’s tough at the moment for most recruitment businesses, with placements being delayed or cancelled, and client talent acquisition plans put on hold.


The global impact of Coronavirus has hit the industry hard, and the uncertainty of what the next few months and years will bring can be overwhelming. We take a look at the grants and business rates relief that the government is providing to support recruitment businesses.

The government have provided lots of support to UK SME’s with the Business Interruption Loan Scheme and Job Retention Scheme. You can find out more about the support that is available by downloading our COVID-19 Assistance document.

More recently, the government have just issued an update on the Retail Discount and the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant Fund that could help recruitment businesses:

Extension of the Retail (Leisure and Hospitality) Discount 2020/21

As part of the Government’s support to SME’s most affected by Coronavirus, a 100% business rates discount was extended to all businesses in the retail, leisure and hospitality sectors for the year 2020/21 with the upper cap on rateable value removed for a year. The list of qualifying businesses is quite extensive and can be found on the website.

Certain businesses are specifically excluded from benefiting from the discount despite having a shop front location. They include those offering professional services such as accountants, solicitors, financial advisors and other professional services and those not reasonably accessible to visiting members of the public.  The description ‘professional services’ is vague and it could easily encompass recruitment businesses, however employment agencies providing services to visiting members of the public are explicitly eligible for these 100% business rates discounts.

Many local authorities have already issued business rates bills in advance of the announcement and official advice is that eligible businesses will have a new (discounted) bill issued to them without need for claim. Those of you that wish to apply for this extension and have yet to receive an amended bill, please visit your local authorities website for further guidance.

Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant Fund

This separate measure offers cash grants of between £10,000 and £25,000 to businesses both eligible for the Retail Discount 2020/21 and which have a rateable value of less than £51,000. On that basis we recommend you consider the following:

  • Do you have an annual rateable value of less than £51,000 per annum (in loose terms, a rates bill before reliefs of about £25,500 or less)?
  • Do you qualify for the 100% business rates discount, providing non excluded services ‘readily accessible to visiting members of the public’?
  • It doesn’t matter if your business is closed now due to Coronavirus, you can still benefit.

Unlike the discount, this Grant needs to be applied for through your local authority with each local authority having their own unique way of dealing with it, some allowing online applications whilst others provide downloadable forms. Search online for Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant Fund, along with the relevant local authority name.

These grants of between £10,000 and £25,000 per annum (sector dependant) would provide a significant, immediate cash injection for many businesses.

If you would like advice on the Government support your business is eligible for or you are concerned about cash flow in your business then please do get in touch. We can help you identify the extent and duration of your funding requirements and determine the interactions with other announced support (the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, and/or Time to Pay arrangements for example).

We can help you raise finance through your current bank and/or alternative lenders, leaving you to continue to run your business during these unprecedented times. We will liaise with potential lenders and providing you meet the qualifying criteria, arrange funding on your behalf.

If you would like to discuss your funding needs please contact Stuart Hutchison on: 07590 440 643 or email

Was this helpful?
share this
Sign up to receive our recruitment sector outlook
Includes hot topics, guest contributors & legislative updates
  • "*" indicates required fields

    This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.
  • Contact us to get started

    Give us a call
    0845 606 9632
    Send us an email
    Stay Informed
    Sign up to receive the latest industry updates, events and publications.