A letter to the Chancellor regarding lack of support

1st October 2020

Dear Chancellor,

Following the letter of the 10th July sent to you by the Co-Chairs of the Hairdressing, Barbering and Cosmetology APPG, and signed by myself, and the extra financial support measures you announced on the 24th September, this letter is sent by The Hairdressing Council (trading as The Hair and Barber Council) with the support of and on behalf of the Hair, Barber and Beauty sector to appeal to you to offer some specific financial support to our sector moving forward.

Everyone is suffering as a result of the far-reaching consequences of COVID-19. People have been affected by physical, mental and economic changes to their lifestyles and this will continue for many months if not years into the future. However, I implore you to consider the plight of our very underrated industry. As well as the ‘feel good’ factor of making positive changes to our customer’s appearance, hairdressers, barbers and beauty therapists very often provide informal counselling services to their clients who tell them of their troubles. We are at the heart of the High Street and our communities and our presence cannot and should not be underrated in anyway.

There are over 337,000 people employed in over 49,000 businesses, contributing a staggering £6.6bn per annum to the UK economy each year before they were forcibly closed because of COVID-19. Some of those who operate hair salons, barber shops and beauty salons have received business rate relief grants, many have not, some of those employed in hair salons, barber shops and beauty salons have been furloughed, some have not, of those who are self-employed mobile workers have received some help, again many have not, and it is very difficult to estimate how those who provide hair and beauty services for wedding parties etc have coped, especially if this is their sole source of income.

But more importantly, many of those who provide these hugely necessary services have fallen through the gaps in UK Government provisions, and have not received any support whatsoever whilst their work was mandated to shut down.

With the restrictions easing on the 4th July, thankfully businesses in our sector were able to recommence trading, but in many cases only able to offer restricted services. With the loss of any business income during the complete lockdown, and then being only able to resume trading in limited ways, for some, this has had a devastating financial impact and burden on many businesses. In addition to which, the huge additional costs in ensuring their premises were and are Covid-19 secure has only added to their financial concerns.

Whilst the additional financial support you announced on the 24th September is welcomed, it doesn’t go anywhere near enough to support an industry that has had no specific financial support since the beginning of this crisis.

From the industry names below that are supporting this letter, you can see the depth of concern our industry has for the future of this valuable sector.

Therefore we respectfully ask that you consider the following that will undoubtedly support and offer much needed help to the industry, enabling it to at least continue trading now and beyond this awful pandemic!

  • To immediately extend the VAT relief you have given to the hospitality sector etc. to the hair, barber and beauty industry, i.e. reduced to 5%, whilst then further considering exempting salons, barber shops and beauty salons from VAT payments in the future and a zero rate band on products.
  • To extend the ‘Business Rates Relief’ scheme for the next 2 years enabling businesses to try and get back on their feet.
  • To offer a £1000 contribution to all businesses in the sector to compensate in some small way for all the additional safety, hygiene and PPE products they have had to purchase through no fault of their own.
  • Salons/barber shops and Beauty salons that have been paying utility bills during the pandemic should have these reimbursed either by the providers or by the UK Government.

Our industry has overwhelmingly supported all the requirements and legislation that has been put in place to protect the public and the staff that work in this industry. They are totally committed to doing ‘the right thing’ but in many cases will not be able to sustain their business model without some financial support.

Please can you show your belief and commitment to this incredible industry by supporting all or some of the measures suggested above, it would mean so much to so many people.

Thank you Chancellor,

Best wishes,

Keith Conniford

Registrar/CEO – The Hairdressing Council

Co- Signed by:

John McNally MP and Christina Rees MP – Co-Chairs of the APPG for Hairdressing, Barbering and Cosmetology

Bill Shaw MBE – Chair of The Hairdressing Council

Lesley Blair – BABTAC (British Association of Beauty, Therapy and Cosmetology)

Coty Professional Beauty

L’Oreal Professional Products Division

City and Guilds

Kao Salon Division (Goldwell and KMS)

British Master Barbers

The Chapel Salon Group

Gina Conway

Aston and Fincher

The Good Salon Guide

Hairdressers Journal International

Professional Beauty

HABIA (Hair and Beauty Industry Authority)

Evo Enterprises Ltd (BarberEVO)

TrichoCare