Palma.—The Association said yesterday that the increase of VAT on hairdressing charges from 8 percent to 12 percent will result in the closure of more than 700 hairdressers throughout the Balearics and the destruction of more than 40 percent of jobs in hairdressing businesses.

A spokesman said that “for a long time now”, the hairdressing sector has felt completely “abandoned” and that as a profession, it is at a disadvantage because bona fide establishments are having to compete with companies who don't declare earnings for tax.

He claimed that there were other elements of unfair competition such as people who ran hairdressing businesses which provided services in the home, meaning that they did not have to pay to operate from any recognised premises. He also cited the advantage that certain franchises and so-called academies had over run-of-the-mill businesses and alleged that some foreign hairdressers undercut the market. “It's the worst possible moment to impose such a steep rise in VAT,” the spokesman said. “At a time when consumer confidence is low, such a move will create an automatic advantage for large chain hairdressing businesses which will weather the worst of the economic storm and jeopardise self-employed companies with less resources.” The Association is asking Central Government for more time to adapt before the increase is imposed.