By Rachael Grealish
An Egremont beauty salon owner has called out the government for its ‘lack of financial support’ for business owners themselves as she has been forced to close her business.
Lesley Canfield, owner of One 2 One, in Egremont, announced the closure of her business on the same day beauty salons, tattooists and spas were given the green light to reopen, on Monday July 13.
On social media Lesley cited the reason for closing was ‘due to the impact of COVID-19’, but speaking to The a Herdwick News, she has called out the UK government for not showing the same financial support to business owners as staff members.
She said: “COVID-19 has led to the closure of One 2 One, in that the business was unable to trade for over four months.
“I closed the salon the week before official lockdown as I believed there was significant risk both to my staff and customers.”
One 2 One was granted £10,000 from Copeland Borough Council, which Lesley said was ‘excellent’ but the length of time the shop was unable to trade had a detrimental effect.
“The council were excellent in giving me the £10,000 grant, they had the money in my account almost immediately,” she commented, “the staff were also furloughed.”
“£10,000, however, is not a lot of money in a business with considerable bills. If we had been able to trade within a couple of months or at least been able to trade fully at this point in time then that would have made all the difference,” she said.
Although they can reopen, beauty salons are still unable to provide facial treatments, but this is a measure Lesley does agree with for safety.
“A further complication, in my case, meant I got no personal assistance,” she continued, “I am not payrolled in the businesses nor do I collect dividends. I own the building so my income came from the rent of the building and being my own landlord meant no income.”
The decision to close then came as time went on and no news about salons reopening was provided by the government.
“I gave very serious consideration to the future situation and with no commitment from the government for beauty salons to open I felt I had no option,” the business-owner added.
“Unfortunately I do agree that it is not safe, for some treatments, to be carried out, and for the foreseeable. This means the situation is just going to continue.”
Although Lesley was grateful her staff members’ wages were covered she feels the government could have done more to support business owners in order to ensure businesses could reopen as before – accusing Boris Johnson and his government of ‘mocking’ the beauty industry.
She said: “It would have been very helpful if the government could have offered more financial help for this industry instead of mocking it. Or at least offered all business owners the same financial support regardless of their situation.
“There is little point in paying staff wages if the business itself is not supported, what can the staff come back to?”
Looking to the future Lesley says she hopes to continue her work from a home salon on a self-employed basis.
She said she will also put more time into the organisation Women Against State Pension Inequality (WASPI) – the WASPI Campaign is fighting for justice for all women born in the 1950s affected by the changes to the State Pension Age (SPA).
She said: “As for the future, well I am a little long in the tooth to start again, but hopefully will continue to work from my home salon on a self employed basis, with a little less stress until the government will let me retire.
“Given that I and many others have been made to work until they are 66 before being able to collect their pension.
“Who knows now I have more time I can apply myself to the WASPI organisation. There is a lot more mileage in retiring older people to make room for the young, they are a lot more productive and ambitious, the country needs them.”
The Copeland MP, Trudy Harrison, has been contacted to respond to Lesley calling out the government for ‘lack of support’ as has the Chancellor, Rishi Sunak.