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British Beauty Council sets out sector priorities ahead of general election

Sophie Smith
03 July 2024

The British Beauty Council is spotlighting the key priorities of those working in, and buying from, the industry ahead of the general election tomorrow, 4 July. 

The organisation, which promotes the interests of people and companies engaged in all sectors of the beauty industry, has identified specific areas that could most benefit the sector, from tax reform and green incentives to the simplification of trade and more.

Victoria Brownlie MBE, Chief Policy & Sustainability Officer at the British Beauty Council, said: "We are continuing to work cross-party to advocate on behalf of the industry. We are maintaining and building new relationships with policymakers to push for action in areas where the sector will benefit most."

Among the key priorities is a tax reform, including a reassessment of VAT policy, the introduction of an internationally competitive, tax-free shopping scheme for international visitors, and tax-deductible business training in new areas of business such as AI and sustainability.

It also emphasised the importance of a wholesale review of the business rates system to create a more "level playing field" between high-street stores and e-commerce platforms, as well as the need for an increase in the Employment Allowance for SMEs to reward businesses that grow their workforce and a commitment to review the classification of SPF30+ as an ‘essential’ rather than an ‘cosmetic’ item.

In terms of trade and regulation, the British Beauty Council highlights the need for targeted investment incentives that prioritise business reshoring and increase UK manufacturing and innovation, particularly in relation to sustainability, alongside a closer and more positive working relationship with the EU in respect of trade and export policy.

It also mentioned the need for a commitment to proceed with licensing regulation as secondary regulation under the Health & Care Act 2022 in the aesthetics sector.

For education and growth, the council is asking for an updated skills and apprenticeship education system that works for a modern Britain, managed under the remit of the Department for Business & Trade to ensure the qualifications are "fit-for-purpose" for UK business.

It also highlights the significance of using Apprenticeship Levy funds to build on and develop skills in the areas both large and small businesses need, as well as the reintroduction of Child Benefit for families of under 18’s who undertake apprenticeship and a focus on resources to ensure improved access to funding for typically disadvantaged groups such as women and ethnic minorities and greater representation at all levels of business and enterprise.

In regards to ESG, the British Beauty Council urges support and incentives for companies to implement carbon reducing, circular, nature positive and environmentally sustainable business practices.

Read's political policy coverage here:

The news comes as the council targets further growth and positive change within the British beauty industry, having launched an industry-wide census last month to find out what beauty means to its workers and consumers, marking the biggest research project in its history.

The survey, which is accessible online at the British Beauty Council, urges over half a million workers in the sector to have their say on the £24.5 billion a year industry. Following a three-month data collection period, the results will be presented at British Beauty Week 2024.

Read's feature on everything you need to know about the British Beauty Council’s new industry-wide census.

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