TWO hair salon owners from Newcastle are asking the government for a temporary reduction on VAT to try and prevent salons from suffering long term, financial damage following lockdown.

Backing the national Save Our Salons campaign – a call for an immediate cut in VAT from 20 per cent to five per cent – Gary Hooker and Michael Young, owners of the Hooker & Young salon group in Newcastle and Teesside, believe that thousands of salons are at risk of collapse if the tax on hair services is not reduced. The Save Our Salons campaign is supporting hairdressers to contact their local MP and lobby for this important tax cut.

Mr Young said: “2020 was extremely challenging and we’re not out of the woods yet. We’re backing this campaign not only for salons in our local area, but all salons up and down the country.

“Right now we can’t provide hair services and so we are appealing to the government to cut the VAT we pay on this part of our business, which will give all local salons a better opportunity for survival and keep people in jobs.

“Hair salons are hubs of the community and provide much more than a haircut. Salons are somewhere for people to stay connected to their community and it is important that we don’t lose these vital businesses. The Save Our Salons campaign is helping UK salons to get their voice heard at this difficult time.”

Hairdressing is one of the most heavily taxed industries on the high street, with around one-third of every £1 coming through the tills ending up being paid in tax. A reduction in VAT to five per cent would be a lifesaver for all VAT-paying salons.

Hellen Ward, founder of the Save Our Salons campaign, said: “Salons are at the heart of the UK’s high streets up and down the country, offering personal wellbeing at a time when we need it the most. We feel that hairdressing, barbering and beauty services will play a vital role in helping to rebuild and reshape the high street landscape of the future, but our salons need support now.”

In a recent survey of 5,000 salons, 62 per cent were unsure if their businesses would survive past the end of the financial year. It was further reported that 18 per cent were sure they would close. The consequent social poverty for those who work within them, in particular women, will be a huge social casualty, with many having to fall back on benefits.

She added: “By the end of March 2021, the sector will have been closed for a minimum of 240 days, yet has not received any additional financial support, such as those gifted to the arts, the sports sector, leisure or hospitality. Financial help to salons and professionals during this difficult time will be the only way to ensure that hairdressing can return to where it was at the beginning of 2020.”

Save Our Salons is the next stage in the #ChopTheVAT campaign launched in 2020 by the beauty director at The Telegraph, Sonia Haria alongside professional trade bodies. It provides an opportunity for salon owners to unite behind the cause by engaging in positive direct action.

Hairdressers can go to and follow the six simple steps to join the campaign and get help in contacting MPs.