Hair and Beauty Industry Unites Over Rising Energy Costs
The leading organisations within the hair, beauty and barbering industry have come together ahead of this week’s Spring Statement by the Chancellor (23 March) amid fears that rising energy costs could halt the sector’s pandemic recovery.
They are calling for an energy bill rebate, similar to that offered to domestic properties in February, to be made available to commercial properties.
The organisations leading the charge are The National Hair & Beauty Federation (NHBF), Hair & Barber Council, The British Association of Beauty Therapy & Cosmetology (BABTAC), British Beauty Council (BBCo), Federation of Holistic Therapists (FHT), Sunbed Association, and UK Spa Association.
The groups have all been responding to concerns by salon owners around rising energy bills and the already tenuous positions many of their businesses, who are struggling to rebuild after two years of lockdowns and operational restrictions affecting income.
After highlighting these concerns to Government, the collective issued a cross-sector survey to assess the seriousness of the current situation, with feedback received from 1,774 businesses in a 48 hour period. Five key findings from the survey are:
- 94% said utility bills have increased compared to this time last year. A third (32%) said energy bills are their largest overhead, with further 50% stating it is their second greatest overhead.
- 44% of businesses within personal care reported bill rises of 0-50%, 41% said they had risen by 51-100% and 10% had risen by a staggering 101-200%.
- 57% have attempted to switch supplier, but 70% had been unable to renegotiate their current contract with their existing supplier. Of those that had been unsuccessful, almost half said this was because they couldn’t afford the rate offered (46%) Of the 41% that responded ‘other’, the most common reason was being stuck in an existing contract with their energy supplier that they could not get out of.
- 82% have taken other steps to reduce their energy costs, including turning down heating, turning off lights more frequently, and turning off sockets at the end of each day. Some businesses also report closing the salon for a day a week to save costs.
- Almost half of businesses (47%) have reduced other business costs to be able to afford increasing utility bills. Most by reducing stock purchasing, and more concerningly, by reducing staff and personal wage costs.
Richard Lambert, Chief Executive of the NHBF, warned the industry is at a “crunch point,” adding that the increase in energy prices “on top of growing wider business and staff costs is and will be significant for many businesses.
“An energy price rebate would at least help spread the costs and allow more time for the sector to recover”.
Keith Conniford, Registrar of the Hair and Barber Council, said the increase in energy prices “together with the upcoming increase in staffing and business costs pose a huge threat to the recovery from the pandemic, the high street and the very existence of many hair salons and barbershops throughout the country.
“I cannot stress enough that the Personal Care sector needs some business support to help see our sector through these increasingly worrying times.”
Lesley Blair, CEO of BABTAC, said: “When salons have worked so hard to survive and are now beginning to rebuild it really does feel like one thing after another.
“We’ve been highlighting growing concerns around post COVID recovery as utility costs continue to spiral for some time and were keen to feedback to Government on the impact this is having on the personal care sector.”
Victoria Brownlie, Chief Policy Officer at the British Beauty Council added: “We’re really hoping that, with pressure from the many other sectors as well as personal care, the Chancellor will outline some specific business support around the rise in energy costs, just as the Treasury has done in recent months for domestic households.
“It is short-sighted, especially in this period of recovery, to think that individual households are the only ones suffering.”