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The hairdressing sector has been hit hard by the pandemic and normally employs more than a quarter of a million people.
Andrew, who lives in Hoylake, has written to his local MP, Labour’s Margaret Greenwood, explaining why the future of an important industry is in doubt, and what might be done to protect it.
“I wrote to Margaret Greenwood to ask her for support in lobbying the Government on behalf of the hair and beauty sector. I have requested a meeting where I can hopefully have the opportunity to stress the serious situation within our sector at present.
“I mentioned an immediate cut in VAT, similar to some other sectors, when salons eventually reopen as this would be a lifesaver to many.
“At the end of each lockdown most salons are initially pretty busy, well, as busy as is possible allowing for social distancing – but business soon tails off after this initial demand, quite sharply in some instances, particularly depending on location and local restrictions. A reduction in VAT would certainly help.”
Andrew is concerned that, without action, his sector could be mortally wounded, pointing to a survey from December last year conducted by the National Hair and Beauty Foundation: “Of 5000 salons, 62% were unsure if their businesses would survive past the end of the financial year.
“It was further reported that 18% were sure they would close. The consequent social poverty for those who work within them, in particular women, will be a huge social blow, with many having to fall back on benefits.
“As well as a reduction in VAT I would like to see grants extended and increased. For any business in any sector that is not allowed to trade at present, the furlough scheme and the suspension of business rates have undoubtedly been invaluable.
“But if the lockdown continues, then the grants to these businesses will have to be reviewed. Costs such as rent, insurance, admin wages, employer National Insurance and pension contributions continue to be paid whilst no income is coming in. Even those businesses that had a cash reserve for unforeseen circumstances can survive only for so long.”
Andrew is also eager to stress the importance of the hair and beauty industry to both the national and local economies.
“Hairdressing and Beauty salons underpin the ‘ human’ high street,” he added. “They attract footfall of thousands of consumers per day to retail centres, provide a community hub, support other local retail, while promoting personal well-being and essential emotional support at times of crises.
“I also pointed out in my letter to Margaret Greenwood that hairdressing is a key employer of apprentices, and that a worked based apprenticeship in hairdressing invariably leads to a fulfilled career and a skill for life.
“Therefore the loss of salons on the high street will most probably have an impact on employment opportunities, and anything that can be done to avoid this outcome is of urgent importance.”
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