A LOCAL MP and business owner have called on the UK government to do more to support struggling hair and beauty salons.

Kirsten Oswald sent a letter to the chancellor, highlighting concerns about the current pressures salons are facing due to the combined factors of the cost-of-living crisis, increasing bills, and payroll pressures.

She encouraged a reduction of VAT for these businesses to 10% in the upcoming Spring Budget due on March 6.

Brian Macmillan, owner of F&M Hairdressing in Barrhead, said: "Our businesses need to be on a level playing field, and at the moment cost pressures mean that we are not.

"So, we need action in the budget to support hairdressing businesses which benefit our high streets all across the country."

Meanwhile, the East Renfrewshire MP added: "I have been contacted by a number of hair and beauty salons dealing with increased bills, their customers struggling with the cost-of-living crisis, and a VAT regime that is disadvantageous to traditional salons.

"I am calling for the UK government to take urgent action in the Spring Budget.

"A reduction of VAT to 10% for salons, will do much to ensure this vital sector can continue trading in this challenging climate.

"Hair and beauty salons add significantly to our high streets and the wider economy, as well as playing an important role in the well-being of their customers.

"The Chancellor must reduce VAT to support this important sector for the sake of our high streets, and to ensure access to employment and training opportunities for young people."

Currently, salons which operate a rent-a-chair model usually fall below the VAT threshold, which in turn depresses sector-wide pricing. As a result, many traditional salons are having to choose between adopting a rent-a-chair model or ceasing to trade.

Ms Oswald said the large-scale closures would pose a risk to the sustainability of high streets, job prospects, and the Exchequer's revenues.