Neil Carberry, Chief Executive, Recruitment & Employment Confederation

According to the Recruitment and Employment Confederation @RECmembers the Government must urgently enhance support for businesses to get them through the COVID-19 crisis. The REC is calling on the Government to act swiftly and build on the support package announced in last week’s budget and in today’s press conference.

According to a letter sent to the Prime Minister earlier today (17 Mar), the government should further enhance state support to cover the cost of Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) for all businesses regardless of staff size. This should cover absence for up to 14 days. Many businesses, for example recruitment agencies, are small firms, with few operational staff, but can have many thousands of agency staff on their books who are currently not eligible for government support. 

The REC is also calling on government to help businesses by offering greater flexibility in the timescale for paying VAT and PAYE, and by deferring the upcoming IR35 tax reforms which were already putting a strain on employment businesses. The REC welcomed the Chancellor’s announcement on the loan scheme which it had previously called for.

Neil Carberry, CEO of the Recruitment & Employment Confederation (REC), said:

“Coronavirus is putting enormous strain on good businesses and many are facing major cash constraints, putting tens of thousands of jobs at risk. We welcomed the support offered by the Chancellor last week and today’s announcement on the loan scheme will help businesses defer some immediate costs to see them though in the short-term. 

“We ask the government to provide support to cover the cost of Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) for all businesses regardless of staff size. We are also asking that they allow for flexibility in  VAT and PAYE payments, and suspend the upcoming tax changes until normality resumes. This will help to keep people in their jobs and allow firms to start hiring again. In return, businesses must also take a proactive approach to protecting their staff and preparing for a future where we will all have to be more flexible about the ways we work.”

On Friday 13 March the REC conducted a poll of recruitment agencies, asking “Looking ahead, how will the coronavirus crisis impact on hiring activities in the short term?”

    1. It will have a major adverse impact – 35%
    2. Some adverse impact but manageable – 55%
    3. No real impact – 3%
    4. Will increase demand for staff – 8%

Letter in Full

Dear Prime Minister, 

I am writing to offer our support to the government as it leads the national response to the COVID-19 Coronavirus outbreak – and to seek your support in helping good businesses navigate the cashflow constraints of the next few weeks and months.

The REC is one of the country’s largest business groups, representing 3,300 companies and 10,000 individuals who, collectively, place one million people into new jobs every year, and a million temporary workers into workplaces every day – including critical staff in health and social care. We have already seen the huge impacts that this period is having on our jobs market and without sensible support from the government, the capacity of our sector to help deliver a jobs recovery will be damaged.

 We are happy to help by:

  • Convening any necessary discussions with staffing suppliers to the NHS, social care and education systems. We have always argued for a strong partnership between the government and the public sector, based on delivering the best for patients and students. Now is the time to work together in the interests of all our people. Sensible steps can be taken now to ensure a smooth and efficient operation of staffing over coming weeks – including online rather than in-person right to work checking, and a more inclusive approach to agencies and banks meeting the needs of the public sector, with high standards of cost and quality control.
  • Enhancing support for those who lose employment opportunities. The REC has a long-standing partnership with DWP designed to improve co-ordination between private sector employment agencies and Job Centres in ensuring that people can find work effectively, most recently used in the aftermath of the Thomas Cook collapse in September. Given the likely economic impact of the current crisis, we anticipate needing to work closely with you again.

There may be other ways in which we can help, and we stand ready to do the right thing for the country at this critical time. 

In the very short-term, however, recruitment firms are being affected by the chilling effect on the economy of the steps necessary to battle the virus. Good businesses are being put at risk by the short-term cash constraints caused by a sudden drop in private sector activity. This ought to be a bubble – but action is needed to make sure businesses can survive until the bubble bursts.

We welcomed the additional support offered to businesses by the Chancellor last week, but It is now clear that this is not sufficient. Further enhancement of state support on SSP costs for all employers is essential – up to 14 days. At the very least, the government needs to confirm that the small business support set out by the Chancellor last week applies based on the Companies Act 2006 definition, which would not include temps placed in client companies in deciding whether a small employment agency was eligible for support in paying SSP to both their own staff and temps.

Secondly, government must act swiftly to ensure cash reserves in businesses are maintained though this period. Relief on payment timescales for VAT and PAYE revenues, targeted loans and deferral of cash disruptive April reforms like IR35 are all vital to our industry being able to deliver for workers and businesses after the crisis has passed.

We are ready to discuss any of these points with your team. This crisis will pass, and we want to make sure recruiters across the UK are able to get Britain back to work when we're needed.

Yours aye,

Neil Carberry, Chief Executive, Recruitment & Employment Confederation

You may also be interested in these articles:

Register, Login or Login with your Social Media account:


Advertiser Skyscrapers

Video Advert

Newsroom Activity

Dyspraxia Lambeth had a status update on Twitter 5 hours 55 minutes ago

@ERSA_CEO @apprenticelsbu @Edu4sj_lsbu @milton_damian @QLMentoring @EdDavie @NancyDoylePsych @HWLambeth Fears ‘lost…
View Original Tweet

SERC has published a new article: Conal Set for SPARKS Apprentice of the Year Competition 15 hours 57 minutes ago

Latest Education News

Further Education News

The FE News Channel gives you the latest education news and updates on emerging education strategies and the #FutureofEducation and the #FutureofWork.

Providing trustworthy and positive Further Education news and views since 2003, we are a digital news channel with a mixture of written word articles, podcasts and videos. Our specialisation is providing you with a mixture of the latest education news, our stance is always positive, sector building and sharing different perspectives and views from thought leaders, to provide you with a think tank of new ideas and solutions to bring the education sector together and come up with new innovative solutions and ideas.

FE News publish exclusive peer to peer thought leadership articles from our feature writers, as well as user generated content across our network of over 3000 Newsrooms, offering multiple sources of the latest education news across the Education and Employability sectors.

FE News also broadcast live events, podcasts with leading experts and thought leaders, webinars, video interviews and Further Education news bulletins so you receive the latest developments in Skills News and across the Apprenticeship, Further Education and Employability sectors.

Every week FE News has over 200 articles and new pieces of content per week. We are a news channel providing the latest Further Education News, giving insight from multiple sources on the latest education policy developments, latest strategies, through to our thought leaders who provide blue sky thinking strategy, best practice and innovation to help look into the future developments for education and the future of work.

In May 2020, FE News had over 120,000 unique visitors according to Google Analytics and over 200 new pieces of news content every week, from thought leadership articles, to the latest education news via written word, podcasts, video to press releases from across the sector.

We thought it would be helpful to explain how we tier our latest education news content and how you can get involved and understand how you can read the latest daily Further Education news and how we structure our FE Week of content:

Main Features

Our main features are exclusive and are thought leadership articles and blue sky thinking with experts writing peer to peer news articles about the future of education and the future of work. The focus is solution led thought leadership, sharing best practice, innovation and emerging strategy. These are often articles about the future of education and the future of work, they often then create future education news articles. We limit our main features to a maximum of 20 per week, as they are often about new concepts and new thought processes. Our main features are also exclusive articles responding to the latest education news, maybe an insight from an expert into a policy announcement or response to an education think tank report or a white paper.

FE Voices

FE Voices was originally set up as a section on FE News to give a voice back to the sector. As we now have over 3,000 newsrooms and contributors, FE Voices are usually thought leadership articles, they don’t necessarily have to be exclusive, but usually are, they are slightly shorter than Main Features. FE Voices can include more mixed media with the Further Education News articles, such as embedded podcasts and videos. Our sector response articles asking for different comments and opinions to education policy announcements or responding to a report of white paper are usually held in the FE Voices section. If we have a live podcast in an evening or a radio show such as SkillsWorldLive radio show, the next morning we place the FE podcast recording in the FE Voices section.

Sector News

In sector news we have a blend of content from Press Releases, education resources, reports, education research, white papers from a range of contributors. We have a lot of positive education news articles from colleges, awarding organisations and Apprenticeship Training Providers, press releases from DfE to Think Tanks giving the overview of a report, through to helpful resources to help you with delivering education strategies to your learners and students.


We have a range of education podcasts on FE News, from hour long full production FE podcasts such as SkillsWorldLive in conjunction with the Federation of Awarding Bodies, to weekly podcasts from experts and thought leaders, providing advice and guidance to leaders. FE News also record podcasts at conferences and events, giving you one on one podcasts with education and skills experts on the latest strategies and developments.

We have over 150 education podcasts on FE News, ranging from EdTech podcasts with experts discussing Education 4.0 and how technology is complimenting and transforming education, to podcasts with experts discussing education research, the future of work, how to develop skills systems for jobs of the future to interviews with the Apprenticeship and Skills Minister.

We record our own exclusive FE News podcasts, work in conjunction with sector partners such as FAB to create weekly podcasts and daily education podcasts, through to working with sector leaders creating exclusive education news podcasts.

Education Video Interviews

FE News have over 700 FE Video interviews and have been recording education video interviews with experts for over 12 years. These are usually vox pop video interviews with experts across education and work, discussing blue sky thinking ideas and views about the future of education and work.


FE News has a free events calendar to check out the latest conferences, webinars and events to keep up to date with the latest education news and strategies.

FE Newsrooms

The FE Newsroom is home to your content if you are a FE News contributor. It also help the audience develop relationship with either you as an individual or your organisation as they can click through and ‘box set’ consume all of your previous thought leadership articles, latest education news press releases, videos and education podcasts.

Do you want to contribute, share your ideas or vision or share a press release?

If you want to write a thought leadership article, share your ideas and vision for the future of education or the future of work, write a press release sharing the latest education news or contribute to a podcast, first of all you need to set up a FE Newsroom login (which is free): once the team have approved your newsroom (all content, newsrooms are all approved by a member of the FE News team- no robots are used in this process!), you can then start adding content (again all articles, videos and podcasts are all approved by the FE News editorial team before they go live on FE News). As all newsrooms and content are approved by the FE News team, there will be a slight delay on the team being able to review and approve content.

 RSS IconRSS Feed Selection Page