Skip to main content

Tattooing: Licensing

Volume 471: debated on Thursday 31 January 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government (1) what account is taken of the competency of the practitioner in local authority licensing of the providers of tattoos and body piercing; (178635)

(2) what assessment she has made of the effectiveness of local authority regimes for the licensing of tattooing or skin piercing premises, with particular regard to the revocation of licences held by businesses that have closed;

(3) how many licenses for tattooing or skin premises have been revoked by a local authority in each year between 2000 and 2005; and if she will make a statement.

I have been asked to reply.

The Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1982, as amended by the Local Government Act 2003, gives local authorities (LAs) powers to require tattooing and cosmetic piercing businesses in their area to register and observe byelaws on hygiene and cleanliness. It is an offence for such a business to trade without being registered with the LA or to breach local byelaws.

LAs in London generally use the London Local Authorities Act 1991 (private legislation) which provides for a licensing scheme for businesses providing special treatments such as tattooing and cosmetic piercing. It is an offence to trade without being licensed or to breach licence conditions.

LAs also have general enforcement powers under health and safety at work legislation. This allows LAs to use improvement and prohibition notices, and ultimately prosecute tattooing and piercing businesses, if appropriate. This would include where there are concerns about a practitioner's competency. Under the licensing regime that exists in London, LAs may refuse a licence on grounds relating to a person's competency.

Information on the local regulation of tattooing and cosmetic piercing businesses by LAs is not collected centrally. However, we keep the legislation under review, taking account, for example, of any feedback from stakeholders such as LAs and their associations.