Associations urge Government to unlock unpaid Covid-19 grant monies to cash-strapped beauty businesses

Industry associations The British Beauty Council (BBCo), the British Association of Beauty Therapy & Cosmetology (Babtac) and the National Hair & Beauty Federation (NHBF) are pushing for the Government to “unlock” the coronavirus grant application process quicker as many beauty businesses are on the brink of closure. 

Despite the scheduled reopening date for salons in England on April 12, to date only 13% of the £1.6 billion Additional Restrictions Grant monies available to local authorities has been allocated to businesses desperately in need. 

Babtac, along with BBCo, NHBF and the UK Spa Association, have written to the Secretary of State for Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government 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 grant application process not going live until April, the group fear any restart grant money received will be too late. 

The bodies are asking you to join their call by writing to your local MP, asking for their help in easing this blockage and getting vital funds to your business. To do so, you just need to download the MP Template letterfind out who your local MP is and send your letter.

They are also asking that you share with your community on social media using #beautyonthebrink

What the beauty associations said:

Richard Lambert, chief executive of the NHBF, said: “We highlighted in our evidence to Government that salons are literally on the brink of permanent closure, unable to take on any more debt to meet the deficit between their fixed outgoings and the current grants and reliefs. Without an immediate cash injection, many will not make it to the point of reopening.

“The frustrating thing is it doesn’t have to be this way. There is a significant pot of money available to struggling businesses via the Additional Restrictions Grant, which central Government has given to local authorities to hand out. The problem we have is that councils have been holding on to this money or setting the eligibility criteria too narrowly, meaning that the money is not getting to those that need it.”

Lesley Blair, chief executive of Babtac, commented: “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 MBE, chief executive of The British Beauty Council, added: “Many home salons, mobile therapists 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 April 12.”

Last week, chancellor Rishi Sunak outlined his 2021 Budget and within that announced that local authorities must spend the £1.6bn fund in order to receive a further £425m cash injection. The beauty industry was also left disappointed by the chancellor’s decision not to announce a VAT cut for the Personal Care sector

According to statistics from these bodies, 10% of the beauty industry have closed their doors for good, 60% have no cash reserves remaining, and the social distancing restrictions in place mean that the average salon capacity when reopening is down by 70%. Plus, beauty and hair businesses have lost on average 45% of their pre-pandemic turnover.

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To help you weather the storm while your beauty salon, spa or mobile/home-based business adjusts to the "new normal", we’ve rounded up the best resources to get you through this tough time. Check out our Coronavirus Support Guide.