Many hair salon owners are facing financial crisis, MPs are told

MANY of Britain’s hair salon owners are facing a financial crisis due to pressures caused by the pandemic, MPs have been told.

Library image of a barbers' shop.

The All Party Parliamentary Group on Gaps in Support heard a bleak assessment of prospects for the sector during a session on the impact of Covid on the hair and beauty industry.

It included evidence from Keith Conniford, the CEO of The Hair and Barber Council. The MPs were told that the industry has lobbied hard for a VAT cut similar to that enjoyed by hospitality.

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At least 25 to 30 per cent of people within the sector have been cut out of Covid financial support, according to the Hair and Barber council.

Speaking afterwards, Mr Conniford called on the Government to provide support for his sector.

He told The Yorkshire Post: “We have had nothing during the pandemic and have campaigned heavily for a cut in the VAT rate to 5%..and grant support for all the PPE and health, safety and hygiene equipment requirements we had to put in place in the sector.

“This was a huge additional costs for businesses with no income during the first lockdown of over four months.”

Salon owner Hellen Ward told The Yorkshire Post that there could be a sharp decline in apprenticeships “which will have catastrophic implications for our world renowned profession in the long term”.

Earlier, she told MPs: “80 per cent of the people who responded to our survey have said that they can’t afford to have apprentices and they won’t hire them anymore. Instead of nurturing the next generation, we’ll just become landlords. We are in crisis.”

A Treasury spokesman directed The Yorkshire Post to the Chancellor’s response to Alison Thewliss MP's question during Treasury questions.

The spokesman said: "His answer was that most salons are below VAT threshold and salons will be eligible for restart grants worth up to £18,000."

Last month, a Treasury spokesman stressed that the Government’s Self Employment Income Support Scheme was one of the most generous in the world and has helped nearly three million people claim almost £20 billion pounds.

The Treasury said the scheme is targeted to provide support to those most in need. Many of those who do not qualify will have benefited from other measures in the “unprecedented" £280 billion package of support, such as furlough, the Treasury said.