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MPs call on government to revive Covid-hit beauty sector

Gaelle Walker
11 October 2021

The All Party Parliamentary Group on Beauty, Aesthetics and Wellbeing (APPG) has published a ‘Call To Action’ following its inquiry into the beauty sector’s challenging recovery from Covid-19.

Once worth £30bn and supporting 560,000 jobs, the pandemic had “decimated the industry,” the APPG’s inquiry found.

Many businesses were still facing staff shortages post-Brexit and due to “inadequate funding” for apprentices, it said.

In addition, “a deficit in consumer confidence” meant that 66% of beauty businesses still remained “either partially or fully reliant” on government support to function, it also found.

Staff shortages and a lack of government recognition of the positive role that certain beauty treatments (such as massage) could play in supporting mental health were also hindering the industry and placing additional pressure on the NHS, the inquiry added.

The Group, which is chaired by MPs Carolyn Harris and Judith Cummins, has made three key recommendations for government to ensure that the sector is “not left behind in the UK’s post Covid-19 recovery.

It wants the government to:

  • 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.

Co-Chairs Harris and Cummins 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.”

The APPG is also conducting a campaign to help restore consumer confidence in local beauty and wellbeing businesses and is urging the government to back this by calling on MPs to visit salons or mobile practitioners and support the sector.

The full ‘Call To Action’ can be viewed here.

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