Covid-19: Prospectus IT Recruitment chief raises concerns for ‘forgotten businesses’
Elkie Holland is the managing director of Surrey based recruitment firm Prospectus IT Recruitment. Once recognised among the Who’s Who of Britain’s Business Elite in the years 2008, 2010, 2011 and 2012, Holland now lifts the lid on a key issue for business that has become apparent since the Covid-19 pandemic took told: the fact that some businesses are being overlooked when seeking to access the government’s various support initiatives.
For Holland, a major issue has centred around the fact that businesses have been able to access support even if they have not been adversely affected by coronavirus, including business rates holidays.
Outlining her perspective, Holland said: “Many businesses automatically qualified for government support grants, simply because they paid rates. Not only did these businesses then get their rates paid for them, but they also automatically qualify for a hardship payment, even if there was no obvious hardship brought about by Covid-19.”
Elaborating on this, Holland added: “We can look, for example, at take-away outlets which have high-street premises. Automatically, these businesses were no longer required to pay rates for a year and were in receipt of a non-repayable support grant. These were distributed regardless of whether their business was adversely affected or not. Funeral directors and fast food businesses which stayed open and have, in fact, flourished during the period, had access to this hardship support.”
Yet, in contrast, businesses based in serviced offices, of which Holland herself owns four, have not been subject to the same treatment.
Holland explained: “Businesses whose premises consist of serviced offices received no grant, even though an element of their rental payments obviously includes business rates.”
Further to this, landlords themselves have been able to access government support, something which Holland perceives as unjust.
She said: “Meanwhile, landlords got the grant and the rates rebate, and thus far local authorities and the government in Westminster have seemingly overlooked the multitude of businesses based within these types of offices”.
Examples of affected firms include recruitment firms which do not have a shop front nor high-street premises, physiotherapists, counsellors, financial advisers, estate agents which do not have a shop front, property management firms, training organisations, and software companies.
These businesses, in Holland’s view, have been forgotten by the government during the crisis.
“Good and proper companies have been forgotten, and many of them are left feeling as though they are invisible.
“The galling thing is that it all stems from the fact that business rates are rolled up in their rental payments, which often come to more in costs per square foot then high-street lease buildings. These companies have been left struggling, yet, when it comes to taxation, it is easy to imagine the government will suddenly remember their contribution.”