Dawn Bowden AM welcomes report on hair and beauty sector’s value to Welsh economy

The Assembly Member for Merthyr Tydfil and Rhymney, Dawn Bowden, has welcomed new research which reveals that hair and beauty salons contribute up to £283 million a year to the Welsh economy and employ 11,000 people.

Dawn Bowden said “I know from personal experience the quality of the hairdressing available in Merthyr Tydfil and it was good to hear about the value of this sector to our local economy. I was pleased to join Paul Reardon from Hairport Hair, Merthyr and Kelly Jennings from Iconic, Aberfan at the Senedd”.

ISA Training’s chief executive Shirley Davis-Fox, MBE, the Hair and Barber Council’s political director and board member for Wales, said the report ought to be essential reading for politicians and called on the Welsh Government to make hair and beauty a priority sector.

“I commissioned this important research to identify and highlight the true economic value and impact of the hair and beauty sector to Wales with specific reference to the number of people employed, the businesses within local authority areas and their gross value added (GVA) contribution to the economy,” she told Assembly Members and invited guests.

“With 2,418 businesses employing almost 11,000 people, the sector is a key employer and, unlike many service and retail sectors, it guarantees that money earned in a locality is spent and retained in Wales.

“Hair, barbering and beauty salons are the heartbeat of Welsh high streets, boosting the local economy, keeping communities alive and developing entrepreneurial skills. They provide essential services that we all need.”

Mrs Davis-Fox challenged the Welsh Government and Regional Skills Partnerships to:

* recognise the hair and beauty sector as a priority sector;

* commission more detailed primary research with businesses on the direct, indirect and induced impact of the sector in terms of business expenditure, GVA and employment.;

* request the Office for National Statistics to routinely publish more detailed GVA statistics for the hair and beauty sector;

* improve careers advice to accurately represent the realities and excellent professional opportunities available in the sector.

“I believe that for too long the sector has been undervalued and falsely portrayed as a low skilled apprenticeship option and low paid career choice,” added Mrs Davis-Fox. “I am confident, that this research will address these misconceptions and earn the respect that the sector justly deserves as a professional craft leading to a lifetime of opportunities.”