HAIRDRESSERS in Oxfordshire are calling on the Government to slash the amount of tax they have to pay when they eventually reopen - like the hospitality and tourism sector.

Emily Douglas, owner of Phoenix Hair Salon in Bicester, supports national campaign Save Our Salons which was set up to put pressure on the Government to cut VAT for salons and other personal care businesses to five per cent.

ALSO READ: When will hairdressers reopen in England? - What we know so far

She says the hair and beauty industry has been an 'afterthought' during the pandemic, with businesses having to close three times now due to national lockdowns.

On July 8, the Government announced it would introduce a temporary five per cent rate of VAT for tourism and hospitality. This was a 15 per cent cut, which hairdressers say should also be applied to them.

Ms Douglas, who has been running her hair salon for five years, said: "I only ask for equality. This sector (hospitality) has been given a VAT cut to five per cent - that is huge.

"Alongside this, restaurants are able to provide takeaway and click and collect generating revenue, and still able to qualify for the government support grants.

"Great for them, what a relief that must be. Our industry isn’t able to provide digital services, nor takeaway. Our insurances will not cover us to sell or give away our chemical professional products to generate revenue."

The hairdresser says Government grants are not enough to keep on top of her outgoings.

ALSO READ: Bicester community group continues to deliver food and medication to vulnerable

The 29-year-old added: "We are all grateful for the support we have been provided with. However, my rateable value does not reflect on my running costs. The provided business rate grants were a help, yes. But it isn’t enough.

"My grant doesn’t even cover my salon rent. I have bills coming in and corporation taxes to pay, VAT to pay and staff contributions. It’s just not enough.

"Whilst the bounce back business loans sound great, it’s still a loan. It’s still repayable and it still will be harder for repayments later down the line when we are all trying to rebuild our businesses to what they once were."

The Save Our Salons campaign encourages salon owners to write to their local MP about their concerns, urging them to take their request to the Government.

Ms Douglas sent a letter to North Oxfordshire MP Victoria Prentis who said she has written to Minsters for their comments.

Ms Prentis said: “My colleagues in the Treasury assure me that all tax arrangements are kept under constant review.

"Any changes to taxation would be considered as part of the normal process leading up to the Budget, which will take place on March 3. I look forward to hearing what the Chancellor has to say then.”

Other hairdressers such as Andy's Barber in Bicester and Anne Veck in Oxford have also signed up to the campaign.

ALSO READ: Wild Bicester on mission to boost wildlife in town

Andy's Barber owner Andy Willis said: “Hairdressing is one of the most heavily taxed industries on the high street and desperately needs a tax break just like the hospitality sector has received.

"The lockdowns have been devastating, many barber shops simply haven’t survived."

Keep up to date with all the latest news on our website, or follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

For news updates straight to your inbox, sign up to our newsletter here.

Have you got a story for us? Contact our newsdesk on or 01865 425 445.