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As a sector based around close human contact, the hairdressing sector has been hit hard by COVID-19.

In fact, a recent report finds 39% of the workforce, or around 119,000 jobs, were still on furlough as of April 2021.

Staff have faced reduced working hours, redundancies or employees leaving for ‘more reliable’ sectors. A survey by the National Hair and Beauty Federation shows a 21% fall in employment numbers overall.

The outlook for the sector looks bleak.

impact of COVID on hair and beauty sector in the UK

Scissoring the VAT

The #SaveOurSalons campaign is calling on the government to cut VAT in a similar fashion to the 5% temporary rate implemented for hospitality, tourism and leisure businesses.

Thec ampaign highlights the fact that the sector ‘underpins the ‘human’ high street; attracting footfall of millions of consumers per day to retail centres, provides a community hub, supports other local retail while promoting personal wellbeing and essential emotional support at times of crisis.’

Noting that paying VAT at the same level as retail has never been fair for the hair and beauty industry (salons add value only though expertise and not goods), the founders said: “we need VAT reform and we need it now. just because we didn’t get the result in the budget doesn’t mean we can’t get the result; fiscal changes are made outside the scope of the budget all the time.”

There will be a Westminster Hall debate on “The Beauty and wellbeing sector workforce” on Wednesday 23 June at 9:25am