Unlock unpaid Covid-grant money to save cash-strapped hair and beauty salons on the brink of closure, government told
As you may have seen on the budget webinar that we took part in last week we are urging the government to step in to speed up the grant application process. To date, only 13 per cent of the £1.6bn additional restrictions grant monies available to local authorities has been allocated to businesses desperately in need. With many salons on the brink of closure, despite the scheduled reopening on 12th April, our Coalition, including BABTAC, the British Beauty Council, NHBF and the UK Spa Association have put together a letter template for you to send to your local council to urge them for support.
Lesley Blair, CEO and Chair of BABTAC comments: “The extensive research and evidence our Coalition has provided directly to the government and the Treasury over the past 10 months has clearly demonstrated the critical state of our industry, a sector that contributes over £28 billion annually to the UK economy.”
Millie Kendall MBE, CEO of The British Beauty Council, adds: “Many home salons, mobiles that rent rooms and chairs, and smaller businesses that don’t pay rates are desperate for these grants which are widely being withheld. Many businesses are on the brink of closure. Without an immediate cash injection, many will not make it to the point of reopening on 12th April.”
BABTAC along with The British Beauty Council, the NHBF, and the UK Spa Association have written to the Secretary of State for Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government. The group are urging the government to step in to work with local authorities – to expand the eligibility criteria and speed up the fund allocation process. With the application process not going live until April, the group fear any restart grant money received will be too late. Please click here to read the letter in full.
Lesley Blair continues: “We continue to highlight the urgent needs of our industry and have further meetings scheduled with both BEIS (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy) and other Government departments this week. We also urge all our collective members to use their own voices to support our efforts. Our coalition have provided a template letter for just such purposes and we encourage as many of you as possible to join the call to action.”
Millie Kendall adds: “As a sector representing an 88 per cent female workforce, with 80 per cent of business owners as women, this is particularly concerning for a section of society already known to be one of the most negatively impacted by the pandemic. The discretion for fund allocation is with the local authority and so we are urging the government to work with authorities to expand the eligibility criteria for grants and speed up the fund allocation process.”
Last week, Chancellor Rishi Sunak outlined in his Budget that local authorities must spend the £1.6bn fund in order to receive a further £425m cash-injection. The group representing the beauty sector was “bitterly disappointed” the Chancellor did not cut VAT for hair and beauty businesses – despite having extended it for the hospitality and tourism sectors. They remain committed to campaigning for a temporary VAT reduction to 5 per cent for the personal care sector.