Chop the VAT is a campaign asking the Government to cut the VAT for hair salons from 20% to 5%. Launched by the British Beauty Council (BBC), it’s message is simple to write, easy to understand, and yet the powers that be refuse to see the sense in this move. It’s frankly beyond frustrating… given the Covid Pandemic this year, and the devastation caused to our industry, chopping VAT to 5% could actually be a salon saver. A recent NHBF survey says the currently 41% of salons aren’t sure they’ll be reopening after Christmas. This is shocking.
CHOP THE VAT
The costs of running a salon within safety guidelines, a downward trend in retail sales (both pre and because of Covid) and yo-yo-ing Lockdowns are simply unsupportable for many. Edward Hemmings is creative director and director of education at Alan D in London. He’s spent many years alongside industry bodies including The Fellowship for British Hairdressing, and has proved time and again a champion for hairdressing. We follow him and often find his manner supremely articulate, reasonable and interesting. Here’s what Edward finds most frustrating:
- Delayed re-opening after the first lockdown, in line with the hospitality industry, rather than retailers
- No VAT reduction as offered to the hospitality sector
- Non eligibility for the retail, hospitality and leisure grant
- Being forced to close during the second lockdown despite SAGE figures showing that the industry had only contributed 0.05% to the R number.
Taking the initiative, Edward arranged a meeting with his local MP, Tom Hunt, and he also invited him for an interview on his #edwardhemmingsmeets Instagram Live. The conservative MP for Ipswich was highly supportive of the industry and recognised the positive role it plays, both on the high street and on people’s mental health and well-being. Following the Instagram live, Mr Hunt posted a supportive message to local hairdressers on his Facebook page and pledged to consider how he could support the Cut the Vat campaign.
He said: “I completely sympathise with the struggles our local salons are facing throughout this second national lockdown. Our hairdressers are much more than just a shop or a service, they are part of the heart and soul of every high street. Over the coming weeks I’ll be looking very closely at what can be done around a potential reduction in VAT for hair salons and further funding for hairdressing apprenticeships to help ensure the industry in Ipswich has every possible protection and support.”
Edward says: “I was delighted that a serving MP – who can actually have an influence on our behalf – was prepared to be interviewed, but more importantly, was so supportive of our industry. I encourage any hairdresser or salon owner to contact their MP and ensure they are doing all the right things. I’d also watch and comment on my videos. I’ve been able to attract the attention of the Department for Education twice and received a letter from the Secretary of State for Education off the back of social media messages.“ Let’s make sure our industry is heard.”
Watch the #edwardhemmingsmeets interview with Tom Hunt MP and tell us what you think…
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