Today, the All Party Parliamentary Group on Beauty, Aesthetics and Wellbeing (the APPG), Chaired by Carolyn Harris MP and Judith Cummins MP, publishes a Call to Action following its inquiry into the sector’s recovery from COVID-19.
The MPs launched the inquiry following concerns from industry leaders that the sector was still struggling to bounce back after the pandemic. Once worth £30bn supporting 50,000 businesses and 560,000 jobs (85% women), the pandemic has decimated the industry.
The Group found many businesses are facing debilitating staff shortages post-Brexit and due to inadequate funding for apprentices. In addition, the deficit in consumer confidence has meant that 66% of beauty businesses remain either partially or fully reliant on Government support to function.
The pandemic has taken a huge toll on the physical and mental health and wellbeing of the UK public, and the sector pays a crucial role in supporting this, taking pressure of the NHS, and helping to treat long-COVID symptoms. Yet staff shortages and a complete lack of Government recognition hinder the sector from fulfilling these needs.
The Group today makes 3 key recommendations for Government to ensure that the sector is not left behind in the UK’s post-COVID recovery:
- Broaden apprenticeship incentives for employers, in particular for small and micro businesses
- Include further accessible and broader holistic and complementary qualifications in the National Skills Fund
- Recognise the crucial role of holistic and complementary therapies, and the crucial role these can play in taking pressure off the NHS
These recommendations are based on evidence given in public inquiry sessions and written submissions from a wide range of stakeholders including trade associations, industry operators and education providers.
Co-Chairs of the APPG, Carolyn Harris MP and Judith Cummins MP, said:
“While we were grateful the sector was able to reopen in April after our year-long campaign for greater recognition, beauty, aesthetics and wellbeing continues to be left behind in the Government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
We launched this inquiry due to concerns we were hearing from the industry about serious staff shortages, a continued deficit in consumer confidence, and a lack of support for wellbeing services that play an essential role in supporting our overstretched NHS.
The sector is still facing a myriad of issues from the COVID-19 pandemic that are continuing to be side-lined.
We strongly urge the Government to implement the recommendations in our Call to Action and to ensure that this vital sector, as the beating heart of several UK high streets, can once again become an economic powerhouse and continue to support all of our wellbeing.”