The cost of a hairdressers visit has gone up by around 15 per cent over the last two years with more hikes likely if plans to increase the rate of VAT for the service sector from 9 per cent to 13.5 per cent are implemented from March 1st, an umbrella group for the industry has warned.
Launching a campaign to keep the VAT rate at 9 per cent the Irish Hairdressers Federation (IHF) warned that the “unjust and nonsensical tax burden” would have a devastating impact on the sector and on communities all over the county while driving more people towards the shadow economy.
It said the sector had “suffered gravely during Covid” and pointed out that small businesses are “most at risk from ruinous inflation”.
Danielle Kennedy, the president of the IHF said that the “reality is very simple for hair salons in Ireland, this VAT increase will ruin them”.
She noted that salons had seen their costs “explode skywards over the past year as they struggled to get back on their feet after Covid. This will increase costs for hair salons even further, which means salons may have to increase prices, which means less customers, which means even more pressure.”
She pointed out that “electricity costs have doubled in many cases from two years ago, which is already killing off hair salons” and questioned if the Minister for Finance Michael McGrath was “in touch with reality”.
She said it made “no sense for the Government to be doing this at a time when small businesses are struggling more than ever. There are 25,000 people employed in this sector, many of them working in salons on the main streets of small towns and villages. Hair salons are a huge part of their communities and provide a vital service, particularly to elderly people who don’t feel comfortable going out in public without having their hair looking well.”
Lisa Eccles of the Zinc Hair Salon in Dublin said salons were “really vital in the battle to keep people coming into local villages, towns and city centres, we really drive footfall into all of those places. You can’t digitise a hair cut.”