Hairdressers in Ireland have urged the Government to set a permanent VAT rate of nine per cent and introduce a subsidy for trainees, as the sector seeks to recover from the Covid-19 pandemic.
The Irish Hairdressers Federation on Monday launches its pre-Budget submission, developed with the input of economist Jim Power, which it says aims to support the hairdressing sector as it struggles with higher costs and reduced salon capacity.
The federation says the sector has been one of the hardest hit by the pandemic amid long closures, and said that taking on young trainees is costing salons up to €5,000 more per trainee per year than it did in 2019.
The key recommendations outlined in its pre-Budget submission are:
- Permanently setting the VAT rate for the sector at nine per cent “to generate local economic activity, sustain employment and provide certainty to struggling salons”;
- Introducing a flat rate subsidy for trainee hairdressers to address a 7.9 per cent decline in total numbers employed in the sector in 2019 and ensure its future;
- Fast-tracking the introduction of the National Hairdressing Apprenticeship, increasing the grant available from €3,000 to €6,000 and committing to a minimum number of classes per year;
- Extending the Employment Wage Subsidy Scheme (EWSS) to the end of 2022 and reducing the reduction in turnover criterion to 15 per cent, to help the sector recover from ongoing Covid-19 challenges;
- Introducing a Continuing Professional Development (CPD) framework to provide a nationally recognised professional qualification and help salons employ young people who want a career in hairdressing.
Irish Hairdressers Federation president, Danielle Kennedy, said the pre-Budget submission “is a laser-focused stimulus and support package for the hairdressing sector.”
“It is fully costed and would deliver much-needed support for thousands of struggling salons across the country,” she said.
“As we learned during the lockdown, hair salons are a vital thread in the fabric of local communities, especially in rural Ireland.
“Our proposals are aimed at supporting these local salons, generating economic activity in small towns and villages and creating new jobs for talented young people.’’
Ms Kennedy said the federation was seeking to engage “constructively” with the Government on its submission over the coming days and weeks, as it represents over 500 salon owners nationwide.