26 March 2019
Planning ahead for Brexit has been a struggle for the hair and beauty industry with so much uncertainty over Brexit - when it's happening, whether the UK will secure a deal, or even whether Brexit will happen at all.
One thing is certain: the UK won’t be leaving the EU on 29 March. In a ‘no-deal’ situation we will leave on 12 April, but if Theresa May’s Withdrawal Agreement is approved, it would be on 22 May with a two-year transition period to follow. With the government debating a range of options so close to the UK’s new leaving date, the uncertainty is intensifying.
When talking to our Members, the biggest concern for most is whether Brexit could cause the UK economy to dip or even go into recession, leading to clients cutting back on their hair and beauty spending in salons
Hilary Hall, chief executive of the NHF/NBF said, "When talking to our Members, the biggest concern for most is whether Brexit could cause the UK economy to dip or even go into recession, leading to clients cutting back on their hair and beauty spending in salons. While there is no doubt that a recession would be very tough, coming on top of already difficult trading conditions, in the last recession hair and beauty remained fairly strong as a sector. Clients often chose to cut back on large, expensive items such as cars before they cut back on having their hair or nails done. But when times are tough they may leave it longer between salon visits or have less expensive services or treatments than they might otherwise have done."
Depending on the terms of any trade deals between the EU or the rest of the world, the cost of imported professional hair or beauty products may go up, although the government has promised to remove import tariffs to protect customers from price rises. New restrictions on customs arrangements may mean that it will take longer for products to arrive.
If the UK leaves the EU without a deal, salon owners who employ EU workers need to make sure any EU citizens who were resident in the UK before Brexit apply for the EU Settlement Scheme by 31 December 2020. Settled or pre-settled status allows them to continue living, working and studying in the UK. There will also be a new process for EU citizens arriving in the UK before 31 December 2020. From 1 January 2021, there will be a new skills-based immigration system.
Other ‘no-deal’ changes include new provisions for travelling to the EU, such as having to renew passports unless they have at least 6 months validity left on them. Driving in the EU will need an International Diving Permit and an insurance green card. If you import from or export to the EU, you need to register for a UK Economic Operator Registration and Identification (EORI) number.
Hilary added, "Although what will happen with Brexit is far from certain, now is a good time to review costs, negotiate deals with suppliers and allow longer lead times for orders. However, some things won't change, for example GDPR is here to stay and employment law will remain unchanged as the government has pledged to protect UK workers so they get the same or better rights as EU workers."
For more information for businesses on planning for no-deal: