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APPG responds to ‘Winter Economy Plan’

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Responding the Chancellor’s ‘Winter Economy Plan’ outlined today, Co-Chairs of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Beauty, Aesthetics and Wellbeing, Carolyn Harris MP and Judith Cummins MP, said:

While we welcome the Chancellor’s intentions in his Winter Economy Plan to retain jobs and support businesses, we are disappointed that a VAT reduction for hospitality and tourism was not offered to the hair, beauty, spa and wellness sector. This is urgently needed.

We are particularly concerned about the serious impact that the ongoing restrictions and local lockdowns are having on businesses and individuals working in the sector, as the Chancellor has not set out adequate financial support to ensure they are able to survive.

The Government must remember that hair, beauty, spa and wellness businesses are the beating heart of our high streets and local communities across the country and directly employ 370,000 people, predominantly women. The APPG will keep fighting of behalf of the industry until it receives the financial support it desperately needs.

Write to your MP: beauty and wellbeing is #notalaughingmatter

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As part of the APPG’s #notalaughingmatter campaign, we are encouraging all industry members to write to their local MP to call on the Government to support the beauty, aesthetics, spa and wellbeing industry during the reopening phase and to:

1.     Set out a timeline for resuming face treatments
2.     Provide further financial support for the industry
3.     Bring forward an economic stimulus package for the sector

Below is a template letter to send to your local MP.

Please feel free to distribute this to your members, partners and colleagues.

Email/letter to your local MP

Your can find your local MP by typing in your postcode here:

A couple of tips:

  • MPs should be addressed as Mr/Ms/Dr/ e.g. Mr Bloggs
  • Include their name and address – MPs only listen to concerns from their constituents, so they need their address and postcode to confirm they are a constituent.
  • Make it personal – using their own words to explain their contribution to the local industry and their concerns will be very impactful.

APPG Chairs call on the Prime Minister to recognise that the decimation of the beauty industry is #notalaughingmatter

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Co-Chairs of the APPG on Beauty, Aesthetics and Wellbeing, Carolyn Harris MP and Judith Cummins MP, have sent to the Prime Minister to express their dismay at the beauty industry being continually undermined in Parliament and overlooked by the Government.

The APPG has been fighting for the thousands of people that the beauty industry employs, predominantly women, as beauty, spa and wellbeing facilities have been given no indication as to when they can re-open their doors again, despite many other similar services such as hairdressing being allowed to open.

They are also dismayed by the Prime Minister’s repeated flippant and derogatory references to the multi-faceted multi-billion pound industry as ‘nail bars’. The APPG is urging the Government to:

  1. Recognise that the financial ruin of the beauty industry is no laughing matter
  2. Immediately bring forward a plan to give this industry certainty
  3. Take immediate action to end chauvinistic behaviour in parliament which both of the above would assist with.

APPG Comment: The Telegraph, ‘The beauty sector needs to reopen urgently. Boris’s decision was flippant and is costing women jobs’

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As the Chairs of the All Party Parliamentary Group for Beauty, Aesthetics and Wellbeing, we are acutely aware of the devastating impact the lockdown has had on the beauty and wellbeing sector. Salons and therapists have not been in work for months, they are anxious to take every step to ensure they are able to reopen safely, and there have been many stories of practitioners working despite the lockdown and the obvious risks this presents.

On Tuesday, the Prime Minister announced the very welcome news that hairdressers and barbershops can reopen on 4th July. But, the beauty sector or ‘nail bars’ as it was referred to by the PM, was left in the dark with no clarity as to when it may be able to open, putting the future of many businesses at risk and leaving many thousands of practitioners with no prospect of a return to much needed employment.

We know representatives from across the hair, beauty, spa and wellness industries have worked incredibly hard to put together guidelines to support their businesses to reopen safely and give staff and customers the confidence they need to start seeking treatments again.

As their doors remain firmly shut, with limited access to cash flows, and no certainty on when they will be able to welcome back clients, thousands of jobs and businesses may not survive the continued lockdown.

Hairdressers too may not be able to open whilst the beauty services are off limits. With thousands of salons in the UK offering integrated hair and beauty services, there is risk that many find it is not financially viable to open only half their operations. When factoring in the increased financial burdens facing salons, from increased hygiene and PPE costs to reduced appointments to allow for social distancing, we are hearing that for some reopening may just not be possible.  

This will almost certainty have a disproportionate impact on the high number of women working in the industry. The multi-faceted hair and beauty industry provides many women with a path to fulfill entrepreneurial ambitions and start up their own businesses, or enjoy the flexibility needed to support themselves and their families by working part-time or being self-employed. 

The Government has provided neither logic nor reason to back up its decision to not allow beauty salons to reopen. While many comparable industries are trusted to start up operations and uphold health and safety standards to reduce transmission of the virus, beauty is left out in the cold.

Government has gone so far as to publish guidance on ‘close contact working’ which covers all hair, beauty, spa and wellness facilities, yet it has only given the green light to the minority of these services to open.

The Prime Minister’s flippant reference to ‘nail bars’ in the Commons strongly suggests that he does not take this industry seriously.

The service side of the hair and beauty industry alone contributes a massive £6.6bn to the UK economy, which is at least 8% of the value generated by the whole retail sector. It also employs over 300,000 people across almost 50,000 businesses and provides over 16,500 apprenticeships. 

Salons are the cornerstone of our struggling high streets up and down the country and play a vital role in supporting the local economies and communities they serve. It is also not just about looking good – being able to get our beauty or hair treatments done plays a big part in supporting all of our mental, social and physical wellbeing.

This is an industry in crisis. We are not asking the Government to take any risks but they must act consistently and urgently take steps, within clear guidelines, to reopen the beauty, spa and wellness business sector in this country alongside hairdressers, and provide immediate clarity to those in the sector on when they will be allowed to do so.  

You can read the Chair’s article in full here.

MPs hear evidence on absence of robust standards for botox and fillers

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At the opening session in the APPG on Beauty, Aesthetics and Wellbeing’s inquiry into aesthetics treatments, MPs heard evidence on the complex nature of the botox and filler industry and the lack of robust and consistent standards for the undertaking of such treatments.

The MPs questioned the witnesses on why people consider aesthetics treatments, the merits of a register of practitioners, age limits for fillers, and the need for psychological assessments of clients and for this to be included in practitioner training. 

Having suffered from a botched filler injected by a practitioner without the necessary training which resulted in her needing critical medical care, Rachel Knappier said:

There is “nowhere for these people to turn to” when things go wrong.

“Cheap adverts on social platforms that are encouraging young impressionable people to seek an instant change to their appearance… to seek what is portrayed as the image of perfection”.

Dawn Knight, campaigner for better safety regulation, said:

The lack of “robust management of the aesthetics industry has led to extremes in both skills and ethical practices… allowing monster to materialise”.

All treatments must be carried out by an “appropriately qualified, safe and ethical practitioner” and concluded: “safe practitioners, safe products, safe premises, safe people”.

Co-Chairs of the APPG Carolyn Harris MP and Judith Cummins MP, said:

“We are seriously concerned by the complete lack of robust, consistent and enforceable standards for undertaking treatments such as botox and fillers. To make matters worse, there is no accountability or consequence for malpractice.

“While the aesthetics industry continues to grow at a rapid pace, the absence of standards leaves practitioners with no support and customers with no guarantee of safety.

“We look forward to hearing further evidence in our inquiry on what action must be taken to address these issues. The Government has a duty to take action which is long over-due.”

The Group heard from Rachel Knappier and Dawn Knight about their experience of botched procedures; aesthetics doctor Dr Michael Aicken, and beauty therapists and trainers Helen McGuiness and Chris Wade. 

Co-chaired by Carolyn Harris MP and Judith Cummins MP, the APPG launched an inquiry into non-surgical cosmetic procedures to investigate how standards for the undertaking and promotion of such treatments must be improved to support the industry and protect public safety. Following its inquiry, the MPs will present a report to Government with recommendations for how to ensure consistent, robust and professional standards are in place.

APPG demands closure of loophole allowing botox during lockdown

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The APPG has written again to the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy to express serious concern about medical services offering botox and aesthetics treatments during lockdown.

Government guidance is clear that the beauty industry should remain closed and this loophole in the guidance must urgently be resolved.

Disappointingly, the Minister Kwasi Kwarteng MP said in response that he had asked his officials to “look into this matter more closely”.

Carolyn Harris MP and Judith Cummins MP, Co-Chairs of the APPG on Beauty, Aesthetics and Wellbeing, said:

“We are extremely concerned by reports that some medical practices are providing Botox and other aesthetics treatments while Government guidance states that the beauty industry should remain closed at this stage. The loophole created by the lack of clarity in the current guidance on the undertaking of beauty or aesthetics treatments in medical practices presents a serious health and safety risk to practitioners and customers.

“It is crucial that Government sets out clear and consistent rules that everyone must abide by, whether a practitioner operating in a salon, an aesthetics clinic, a medical practice, or as a mobile worker. Any inconsistencies and confusion not only present a public safety risk, but also risk harming consumer confidence as the beauty industry looks to reopen.”

APPG receives response from Environment Secretary on sustainability in beauty industry

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Following a meeting of the APPG on Beauty, Aesthetics and Wellbeing to discuss sustainability in the industry, co-Chairs Carolyn Harris MP and Judith Cummins MP wrote to Environment Secretary George Eustice to ask the Government to protect the use of the term ‘organic’ and to introduce consistent recycling policies across the country.

The Envrionment Secretary, George Eustice MP has now written a letter in response to the APPG below, or you can read the letter in full here.

You can see the APPG’s original letter here and a summary of the Group’s panel session on the issue here.

APPG writes again to BEIS calling for industry-wide consultation on reopening guidance

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The APPG has written a follow up letter to the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy in response to their recent correspondence about supporting the hair, beauty and wellness industry though the COVID-19 crisis and reopening phase.

In a letter to the Minister for Business, Kwarsi Kwarteng MP, the APPG Chairs raise concerns that some parts of the industry have not been included in discussions on developing guidance on reopening the industry, particularly mobile workers and spa and wellness facilities.

They also stress that should the forthcoming guidance be considered vague or open to interpretation, or if some parts of the industry are able to open before others, this seriously risks further harming consumer confidence in the industry.

We look forward to receiving the Minister’s response.

You can read the letter in full here.

You can read the APPG’s original letter to BEIS here and the Minister’s response here.

APPG receives response from BEIS about supporting industry through Covid-19

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The APPG on Beauty, Wellbeing and Aesthetics has received a response from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy having written to the Secretary of State Alok Sharma MP outlining what urgent support is needed as businesses reopen and to protect the long-term health of the industry.

You can read the response in full here.

You can see the APPG’s letter to BEIS here.

APPG writes to Government calling for support for the industry through the COVID-19 pandemic

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Having been speaking to representatives from across the hair, beauty, spa and wellbeing industry about the devastating impact that the coronavirus pandemic has had on their sector, the Co-Chairs of the APPG on Beauty, Aesthetics and Wellbeing have written to various Government Departments outlining what urgent support is needed as businesses reopen and to protect the long-term health of the industry.

Co-Chairs Carolyn Harris MP and Judith Cummins MP have written to:

  • Rt Hon Rishi Sunak MP, Chancellor of the Exchequer
  • Rt Hon Alok Sharma MP, Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
  • Rt Hon Michael Gove MP, Minister for the Cabinet Office

We look forward to receiving the Government’s response.