In reaction to rising inflation and low economic growth, the NHBF has urged the Government to target support to ensure the growth of the hair and beauty sector.
The National Hair & Beauty Federation (NHBF) has written to the Chancellor ahead of the Autumn Statement, which is due on November 22, calling on the Government to take urgent action in six key areas.
- Renewed support on business rates: The NHBF is urging Government to renew the 75% retail discount for 2024-25, coupled with a freeze in the business rates multiplier, to ensure stability and facilitate effective cashflow and debt management for businesses.
- Targeted energy support through the winter: advocating for increased flexibility in payment plans, enhanced customer service, and additional green incentives to reduce energy costs and support businesses during challenging times.
- Minimising additional burdens on business: encouraging restraint in the rise of the National Minimum Wage and National Living Wage, taking into account business survival and employment capacity.
- Developing the next generation of talent: proposing the redistribution of unspent funds from the Apprenticeship Levy to incentivise businesses to hire apprentices and bridge the financial gap for employers, ensuring the sector can nurture talent.
- Urgent review of VAT threshold: calling for an urgent review of the VAT threshold to remove disincentives for small businesses, considering options such as raising the threshold or introducing tiered rates for the smallest businesses to facilitate growth.
- Promoting sector tax compliance: collaborating with HMRC to crack down on informal businesses operating on a cash basis, ensuring compliance with tax regulations and promoting fair competition among businesses.
Caroline Larissey, the new chief executive of NHBF, said, "We are at a critical juncture for the hair and beauty industry, and the support outlined in our priorities is essential to ensure its sustained growth and resilience.
She added, “The hair and beauty sector, with its diverse entrepreneurs and skilled professionals, is a cornerstone of the UK and local economy. We urge the government to consider our outlined priorities, as they are vital steps toward empowering businesses, nurturing talent, and promoting financial stability. With these strategic interventions, we can pave the way for a vibrant future for our industry."
The NHBF pointed out that, despite facing challenges, the industry has demonstrated remarkable resilience, displaying signs of recovery after brief rebounds in September 2021 and July 2022.
However, according to recent research, half of the businesses still rely on external support, and an equal proportion is burdened by debt.
Acknowledging the pivotal role of government support during crucial periods, the NHBF urges further targeted interventions through the Autumn Statement to foster the sector's growth and prosperity.