Beauty sector could see 25 percent redundancies following furlough cut off, industry warns

·2-min read
xx - Getty/StockPlanets
xx - Getty/StockPlanets

One of the beauty industry’s leading groups has warned that up to a quarter of staff are likely to be made redundant following the end of the furlough scheme.

In a survey of its 10,000 members, The British Association of Beauty Therapy and Cosmetology (BABTAC) found that 20 percent of beauty business owners would have to incur some staff redundancies, and 24 percent are considering further reducing staff hours. Of these, business owners estimated that a quarter of their staff would need to be made redundant at the end of the furlough scheme.

The news comes as a blow to the industry, which has already seen 7,300 salon and small business closures in 2020, according to data from the Local Data Company.

“Our members are telling us that with the furlough scheme ending there are real concerns about loss of earnings and increased redundancies,” comments Lesley Blair, CEO of BABTAC. “When you consider the size of the beauty industry in the UK it is clear to see that the potential implication for the sector is huge.”

In 2018, the British beauty industry was valued at £28.4 billion, with the beauty services sector contributing a total of £8 billion and making up 1.3 percent of the UK’s total GDP. The beauty sector was also estimated to support over 590,000 jobs, however in the wake of the pandemic, beauty was one of the hardest hit industries, with the Office for National Statistics reporting that at the end of March 2021, when hairdressers and beauty salons were still closed across most of the UK, 56 percent of eligible jobs were furloughed.

Blair is urging any businesses that are affected by the end of the furlough scheme to apply for the newly-launched Beauty Backed Grant Programme. Founded by beauty industry expert Caroline Hirons, the Beauty Backed fundraising initiative began in 2020 to support independent beauty businesses directly impacted by the pandemic. After a successful launch which saw over £600,000 raised in 2020, the Trust is now offering ‘support grants’ of up to £5000 for existing businesses in financial hardship.

“The dire ongoing effect covid has had on our sector is the very reason our Beauty Backed Fundraising Initiative first began - to support independent businesses and entrepreneurs who were directly impacted by the pandemic,” says Hirons.

Businesses can apply for grants via beautybacked.com

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