The British Beauty Council works with the Government and other stakeholders to educate and influence decision-makers in order to shape policy. Thus, supporting the wider industry, its individual sectors and the livelihood of our members. 

The Council’s policy work underpins each of our Roadmap’s pillars, Environmental, Social and Governance; Talent and Growth. More widely, it is driven by the current – and pressing – issues facing the beauty industry. 

This two-pronged approach ensures the Council is always advocating for all of the sectors that make up our vibrant and talented industry, enabling us to support sector-specific trade organisations.

Here is an overview of our current key activity and areas of focus:

Aesthetics regulation

The Council has been working to support the Department of Health in the development of future regulations to license non-surgical cosmetic procedures. The Health & Care Act received Royal Assent in April 2022, giving the Government powers to introduce such a scheme.  

The scope of what these measures will be – including the inspection regime, the expected level of education for those completing procedures, insurance, etcetera – are yet to be determined. Currently, we are working with government officials and industry stakeholders to establish what these may look like.

In the interim period, before any further legislation is introduced, we have developed a set of practitioner and consumer Q&As and a ‘best practice’ checklist for consumers considering getting a procedure. These are both supported by the government and the wider industry.

The return of VAT free shopping

A recent study by Oxford Economics suggests reinstating tax-free shopping would have a net positive of £350m each year on Treasury revenue. The beauty industry is affected by the removal of tax-free shopping for overseas visitors, not only directly through retail sales but also indirectly via a reduction in tourists affecting footfall to services. The British Beauty Council has been working with stakeholder groups from across the sector to build momentum for the reinstatement of tax-free shopping for overseas visitors.

Currently, the Council is building a robust case to highlight that the issue is not solely problematic for London businesses, but also the manufacturers and suppliers across the UK whose products are sold in stores, the devolved nations and regional airport destinations. The benefits of reinstating tax-free shopping have been presented to Government, highlighting it as an easy-win measure which would ease the current burden on businesses and show the rest of the world that the UK is open to visitors.

Ensuring a steady flow of talent to the industry across all sectors

The value of beauty careers has been long underestimated in national curriculums, making it difficult for young people to realise the diverse careers available to them in the beauty industry. This is also reducing the industry’s access to new talent. 

The British Beauty Council is working with Government and education/careers stakeholders (such as STEM Learning and Careers & Enterprise) to ensure that young people receive the practical support they need to pursue enriching careers. This will ensure that the wider industry and all of its sectors have a pipeline to new talent.

We have launched an industry-first initiative, the Future Talent Programme, to create a beauty resource for secondary schools across the country. The first rollout is dedicated to STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths). It encompasses four films – featuring influential voices including Jamie Genevieve, Plastic Boy and The Welsh Twins – which are focused on STEM opportunities in cosmetic science, technology, sustainability and fragrance. 

80,000 young people completed beauty-related qualifications in 2022 (Value of Beauty, 2023), but these graduates didn’t enter the industry. And, there has also been a notable decline in people completing apprenticeships across the sector, with 10,000 fewer people taking on courses since 2015. This talent leakage can, in part, be attributed to the low entry-level salaries across the sector. 

The Council is giving evidence to the Low Pay Commission to highlight the importance of increasing wages in the industry. This will raise the reputation of the industry and encourage talent to pursue beauty careers.

Certain roles in the industry cannot be filled domestically, so the industry is also witnessing a skills shortage. To tackle this, the Council is feeding into the Migration Advisory Committee’s recommendations on updates to the Shortage Occupation List (SOL) to argue that certain jobs within beauty need to be included on the SOL. This will ensure that the service workforce meets client demand.

Promoting safe and sustained growth and trading overseas

Beauty brands, products and retailers are significant economic contributors to Britain’s GDP and they all rely on steady and safe international trade. To help brands navigate the ever-changing trading landscape, the British Beauty Council has collaborated with the Department of International Trade to launch an updated Trade Hub. 

First launched in February of 2022, the resource library was originally formulated to help businesses navigate the post-Brexit ‘transition period’. Now, it has been refocused to ensure beauty businesses can sustain growth in the future. Currently, the hub of resources covers importing and exporting expectations in the UK, EU, China and the USA and this will expand as our network grows overseas. 

The Trade Hub is key for driving UK brands, with new and innovative products and services, into global markets. Thus improving the country’s reputation as a leader in the beauty sphere and also reinforcing the fact that the UK has much to offer post-Brexit.

Pushing for greater cross-industry sustainability

The Council has been dedicated to increasing awareness of the importance of sustainable practices since its inception. 

This passion culminated first in our Courage to Change Report. Released in 2020, the whitepaper focuses on the sustainability of our wider industry and its impact on the environment. With the aim of setting the beauty industry on the right path, it formulates a vision of how we can work collaboratively to create an industry that nurtures the planet. 

As part of the proceeding action plan, the Sustainable Beauty Coalition was formed. The group has compiled a set of key pledges for the Government, industry and consumers to agree to, outlining the role each has to play in tackling the climate crisis. They have also formulated the Planet Positive Beauty Guide. 

Most recently, the Council hosted its first Plastic Solutions Summit. It gathered a group of high-level leadership professionals from across the industry to formulate a new approach to plastic use in all beauty sectors. This work continues with further updates to follow.

Policy news

Home Office publishes statement regarding animal testing for cosmetics

Home Office publishes statement regarding animal testing for cosmetics

‘Windsor Framework’ added to the Cosmetic Products Enforcement Regulation

‘Windsor Framework’ added to the Cosmetic Products Enforcement Regulation

Beauty Ai: Where are we now?

Beauty Ai: Where are we now?

British Beauty Council plays key role in Government’s reversal of Retained EU Law Bill

British Beauty Council plays key role in Government’s reversal of Retained EU Law Bill

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