The Telegraph Letters: The Budget must reduce lockdown damage to women in business

by | Mar 2, 2021

On Monday 1st March, The Telegraph published a Letter asking the Government to, amongst other things, #ChopTheVAT.

The Letter reads


“SIR – We are concerned that the fiscal impact of the Government’s lockdown measures on women is being overlooked.

The virus has taken its toll on a great many people in Britain, but a significant number of female employers, entrepreneurs and employees are being affected – and the damage could take decades to repair.

More women than men work in sectors that have shut down. Mothers are almost 50 per cent more likely than fathers to have lost their jobs or been forced to leave because school closures have created a childcare crisis.

Sectors largely staffed by women – such as retail and hospitality – have suffered massive job losses. Already almost 5,000 beauty salons have been forced to close.

The British beauty industry is worth £28 billion to Britain’s GDP – double the value of car manufacturing – yet there has been no sector-specific financial support, despite one in 60 jobs being within its businesses, many of which were started by women.

The lockdowns have also exposed and accelerated the vulnerability of our high streets. Online sales have boomed, while retailers are being unfairly disadvantaged by having to pay high business rates. The collapse of Debenhams and Arcadia alone has seen 25,000 women lose their jobs. As more retail moves online, shops – which have mainly female staff – are being replaced by warehouses and jobs in deliveries, which are taken by men.

We believe the lockdown is turning back the clock on Britain’s working women – who are not only losing their jobs at an alarming rate, but have also borne the brunt of the domestic load and home-schooling. We call on the Government to take action to halt this reversal by properly assessing the impact the pandemic has had on women’s lives in the UK.

In Wednesday’s Budget, we are asking for a temporary cut to the VAT for hair and beauty salons, from 20 to 
5 per cent, in line with the VAT relief offered to the hospitality sector. We are also asking the Government to continue the business rates holiday to the end of the pandemic, and to lower them to 50 per cent thereafter.

These actions would show the Government’s commitment to backing business women in Britain, and that the female workforce is considered a vital part of the UK’s recovery plan.”


Signed by: 


Caroline Nokes MP (Con)
Chair, House of Commons Women and Equalities Committee

Cherie Blair

Mary Portas

Baroness Morrissey

Jane Shepherdson
Chair of My Wardrobe HQ, Director of London Fashion Fund

Millie Kendall
CEO, British Beauty Council

Baroness Bertin

Baroness Bakewell

Amber Rudd
Former Women and Equalities Minister

Dame Jenni Murray
Former Woman’s Hour presenter

Tamara Gillan
Founder, WealthiHer Network

Jane Boardman
Chairman, British Beauty Council

Jude Kelly
Founder, The Wow Foundation

Holly Tucker
Co-founder of Notonthehighstreet; founder of Holly & Co; UK Ambassador to Creative Small Businesses

India Hicks

Deborah Williams
Founder, The Women’s Association

Dame Heather Rabbatts
Chair, Time’s Up UK

Brenda Trenowden
Former Global Chair, The 30% Club

Ann Cairns
Global Chair, The 30% Club

Ann Francke
Chief Executive, The Chartered Management Institute

Justine Roberts
Founder, Mumsnet

Felicia Willow
CEO, The Fawcett Society

Justine Simons
Deputy London Mayor

Laura Bates

Founder, Everyday Sexism Project

Arizona Muse

Mika Simmons
Founder, The Lady Garden Foundation

Trinny Woodall
Founder and CEO, Trinny London

Dr Helen Pankhurst

Christine Armstrong

Joeli Brearley
Founder and CEO, Pregnant Then Screwed

Dr Shola Mos-Shogbamimu
Founder, Women in Leadership

Pinky Lilani
Founder, Women of the Future

Dr Jackie Mulligan
Founder and CEO,

Fiona McIntosh
Co-founder, Blow Ltd

Lesley Blair
Chair, Babtac

Madeleine Raynel
Managing Director, Treatwell

Julianne Miles
Co-founder and CEO, Women Returners

Vanessa Vallely
Founder, We Are the City

Sam Smethers
Former CEO, The Fawcett Society

Angela Luger

Michelle King

Sian Sutherland
Co-Founder, A Plastic Planet

Dr Julie Hoegh

Sharmadean Reid
Founder, Beautystack

Helena Grzesk
COO, British Beauty Council

Alexia Inge
CEO, Cult Beauty

Anna Teal
CEO, Aromatherapy Associates

Marcia Kilgore
Founder, Beauty Pie

Vasiliki Petrou
CEO, Unilever Prestige

Marian Newman
Founder, The Federation of Nail Professionals

Mary Greenwell

Ruby Hammer

Vanita Parti
Founder, Blink Brow Bar

Michelle de Klerk
Founder, The Women’s Chapter Network

Julia Elliott Brown
Founder, Enter the Arena

Emma Sayle
CEO, Killing Kittens and Sistr Ltd

Martha Silcott
Founder, Fab Little Bag

Stephanie Betts
Director, Josephine Home

Amanda Smit
Owner, Delish and Yummy

Nancy Zeffman and Eileen Willett
Co-Founders, Cucumber Clothing Limited

Gemma Scott
Co-director, SB surveyors

Victoria Chalmers
Founder and CEO, Black & White Comms

Julie Hawkins
Founder and Director, Single Mums Business Network

Venetia Archer
Founder, Ruuby

Debbie Trumper
Founder, Debbie Trumper Consultancy

Lara Morgan
CEO and Founder, Functionality Fragrances,”


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