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The regulation of the Hair, Barber and Beauty industries

Volume 660: debated on Monday 20 May 2019

The petition of residents of the United Kingdom,

Declares that based upon recent research from industry, stakeholders and the general public, (upwards of 84% average of all respondents), there is a strong need and desire to amend this Act of Parliament from voluntary to that of mandatory; further that currently the hair, barber and beauty industries are completely unregulated which the public and industry find totally unacceptable and not in line with protecting the public from untrained and unqualified practitioners, including cases of poor health, safety and hygiene standards; further that with the current modern day slavery issues together with the use of pre cursor chemicals used in the making of incendiary devices, by giving industry the tools to self-regulate, we can make a huge contribution to challenging and stamping out these illegal and dangerous practices.

The petitioners therefore request that the House of Commons urge the Government to amend this Act of Parliament to that of ‘Mandatory’ while including Beauty into the body of the ‘Act’, thus allowing industry to self-regulate with the remit to raise the standards of quality and training within the industry, whilst also raising the perception of the industry with the general public and protecting them from any form of malpractice; the petitioners further request that the Hair and Barber Council be consulted when amending this Act.

And the petitioners remain, etc.—[Presented by John Mc Nally, Official Report, 12 March 2019; Vol. 656, c. 312.]


Observations from the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (Kelly Tolhurst):

The Government recognise the petitioner’s request to amend the Hairdressers (Registration) Act 1964 (‘the Act’) to make state registration mandatory, and to include ‘Beauty’ into the body of Act.

To amend the Act would require demonstrating a market failure which needs regulatory intervention. It would also require an impact assessment that demonstrates a benefit to the public that is greater than the cost to business.

The Small and Micro Businesses policy requires that small and micro businesses be exempt from new regulatory measures where possible. There are approximately 42,000 hair and beauty businesses in the UK employing around 260,000 people. 93% of the businesses employ less than 10 people, 70% less than five people. As the majority of the industry falls within the small and micro business classification, we believe that mandatory registration would prevent the policy aims being achieved.

The petition also highlights ‘cases of poor health and safety issues as well as hygiene, and the control of dangerous substances’. These areas are already highly regulated by health and safety legislation, enforced by local authority environmental health departments.

We would therefore encourage the hair and beauty industry to come together to formulate and agree measures—including alternatives to regulation—needed to drive up the standards of exemplary customer service and wellbeing in this vibrant and valued sector.