NHBF warns of “devastating future” for UK hairdressing 

Grim months ahead for salons without further financial support post-pandemic

NHBF State of Industry survey 2020 – person filing out a survey form

The results of the latest NHBF State of Industry survey, which quizzed UK hair and beauty salons and barbershops, highlights the impact of the current Covid-19 restrictions on businesses.

“Boarded-up shop fronts, significant job losses and a major mental health and wellbeing crisis across the hair and beauty sector” – that’s the prediction from The National Hair & Beauty Federation (NHBF) if the Government does not offer additional financial support to the hairdressing and barbering industry hit by the Covid-19 pandemic.

The 2020 NHBF State of Industry survey illustrated the impact of the current Covid-19 restrictions on businesses and the financial and psychological impact on business owners and staff, as they see their bills and debts balloon.

The survey findings include:

  • One in eight business owners (13 per cent) had already made redundancies as a result of the pandemic
  • 56 per cent could not rule out further redundancies without government support when the furlough scheme ends. One in nine (12 per cent) were certain that redundancies would be likely
  • 53 per cent of respondents had cut staff hours in order to save costs
  • 62 per cent could not be sure their business would survive until the end of the financial year, with almost a third of that number (18 per cent) explicitly sure they would have to close
  • Two in five (38 per cent) of salons in the beauty sector were not earning enough to cover outgoings such as rent, overheads, staff costs and stock.  Across the hair and beauty sector as a whole, only two in five are just about breaking even
  • One in 11 (nine per cent) had not received any financial support
  • Only four per cent were likely to take on new staff in the next three months
  • Only four per cent were likely to take on apprenticeships despite recent government incentives

The findings will be used to strengthen the push for more government financial support for hair and beauty businesses as an industry that contributes so much to the economy and wider society, but which has received none of the additional support measures offered to sectors such as leisure, hospitality, sport and the arts.

As a client-facing, service-based sector, hairdressing, barbering and beauty has been particularly hit by continued closures and lockdowns, and with limited ability to adapt and generate income through other ways, such as online sales. Richard Lambert, chief executive of the NHBF said: “The responses to the survey starkly show that the future of hair and beauty sector is bleak without targeted help from the government.”

He argued that the Government can help get businesses back on their feet by extending hardship grants, reducing VAT to five per cent and extending business rates relief into next year. “There also needs to be grants available to those who have not been eligible for other support,” he added.

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