Budget 2021: Building Beauty Back Better

by | Mar 3, 2021

The British Beauty Council welcomes package of support for the personal care sector – but continues calls to Chop the VAT.

The Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak today laid out the UK government’s tax and spending plans, with the Personal Care sector mentioned specifically in a budget for the first time ever. The budgets include some important new measures which will support the hair and beauty industry in the vital coming months. The newly-created Personal Care sector within Government has been integral in supporting the needs of the industry, with Caroline Nokes MP singled out during the Chancellor’s speech for highlighting the specific plights of the sector.


The new stimulus commitments which will affect the Personal Care sector include:


  • A Restart Fund of up to £18,000 for the Personal Care sector
  • An extension of the business rates holiday beyond its current end date of 31 March
  • An extension of the furlough scheme until the end of September
  • Self Employed Income Support Scheme extended, plus new eligibility
  • Apprenticeship grant increased to £3,000


The British Beauty Council welcomes these measures, which will provide vital financial support for hair and beauty businesses, helping to shore up jobs as well as supporting and upskilling young people in the industry. 60% of people who work in hairdressing and barbering are self-employed and in beauty 65% are self-employed[1], meaning the extensions to the Self-Employed Income Support Scheme will have a hugely positive impact on the personal care sector, while our industry being eligible for the maximum Restart Fund is also testament to the extensive lobbying of the British Beauty Council and other industry bodies, along with the support of the government Personal Care team.


Says Helena Grzesk, Chief Operating Officer, British Beauty Council: “together, these new measures form a stronger package of long-term recovery for the sector. We are delighted by the recognition that the UK government has shown in our industry. Salons, spas and beauty businesses are the cornerstone of UK high streets and will be instrumental in kick-starting the economy and we look forward to working across the industry to get it back on its feet again.”




Regrettably, despite multiple high-profile campaigns and a huge groundswell of support from the general public, the Chancellor has not cut VAT for hair and beauty businesses – despite having extended it for the hospitality and tourism sectors. We are bitterly disappointed by this outcome and will continue to work with both BEIS and the UK Treasury on this as a matter of urgency.


“I welcome today’s announcements, but we will remain committed to campaign for a VAT reduction of the personal care sector. Businesses told us in June last year what would make their recovery more viable, and the vulnerable, larger VAT-registered businesses did and still do believe that a VAT reduction is key to this. It seems like a simple mechanism which would help activate recovery for a services based sector and help keep staff employed.” – Millie Kendall MBE, CEO, British Beauty Council.


BABTAC, British Beauty Council, NHBF and UK Spa Association have been working as part of a COVID Coalition to make a case to Government for the need for targeted support for our sector. This has included formulating a robust and fully-costed proposal for an immediate recovery fund for the personal care sector and a cut in VAT to five per cent once reopened in order to counter the effects of working at reduced capacity due to social distancing requirements. The Coalition continues to work together for the good of the sector to campaign for improvements in recognition and support for our sector now and going forward.




On Thursday 4th March the British Beauty Council will be running a free webinar called ‘What the Chancellor’s Budget means for the Hair & Beauty Industry,’ hosted by Sonia Haria (Telegraph) and guests including Millie Kendall MBE (BBCo), Helena Grzesk (BBCo & UKSA), Lesley Blair (BABTAC) and Victoria Brownlie (NHBF).


To register, click this link: https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_uUSAJUHAQBeyQNIqQOqm2w


For information and interview opportunities, please email britishbeautycouncil@seengroup.com



[1] National Hair & Beauty Federation Industry Statistics 2020 Report

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