It’s been a week of virtual meetings – by now I’m getting quite used to seeing people on a screen rather than in the flesh as it were! I started off the week with the Northern Irish representatives of their equivalent to our All-Party Parliamentary Group on Gambling Related Harm. The gambling industry and its pernicious influences are no respecters of borders and so it is vitally important that all of us in the various devolved and UK-wide groups work together to tackle the harms of the gambling industry. We all want to see strong regulation that will protect people from the very worst excesses of the gambling industry and to ensure that there are adequate protections in place particularly to prevent problem gamblers from being tempted by the industry with special deals. Discussions across the UK will continue and I very much look forward to some collaboration with our Northern Irish partners in the coming months.
I co-Chair the All-Party Group on Beauty, Aesthetics, and Wellbeing and on Tuesday there was a session hearing from practitioners and customers of botox and fillers about their experiences. This was the first evidence session as part of our new inquiry into non-surgical cosmetic procedures, which is going to be looking at the regulatory measures that currently exist and whether they are sufficient to protect people. We need to ensure that practitioners are trained to a high level and that hygiene and enforcement checks are carried out regularly. According to our current laws, practitioners who administer non-surgical treatments such as botox injections are not required to have any qualifications and there have been reports of cheap, unlicensed products being bought over the internet with dire consequences. With the growth of the beauty industry and the impact of social media on the promotion of such procedures, we need to ensure that our industry is adequately regulated in order to protect people.
A few weeks ago, I asked the Ministry of Justice about their provisions for women offenders in Wales and their plans for a prison in the South Wales area. Today I met with Working Chance to support women leaving the criminal justice and care systems into employment. We need to look seriously at our system and assess whether it is suitable for the 21st century and whether we are putting in place systems that will allow people to live their lives to the full in our society. I don’t think we fully appreciate the huge impact prison has on many women, many of whom lose the connection with friends and family and their home when they are sent away. There is no point in locking people up and not thinking about how they will be able to support themselves afterwards. Employment is a key factor in preventing reoffending as employment means not only income, but self-confidence and self-worth to help people face the future with hope and aspirations.
As you will know, this week, non-essential shops in Wales began to reopen in the biggest changes to Welsh lockdown so far. It’s important to note that we still have the 2m social distancing rule here in Wales, despite the changes that have taken place in England. If we can stick to the guidance, and the virus continues to decline, the Welsh Government will issue guidelines to help the tourism industry to put in place the necessary measures to allow them to reopen, which will be welcome news not just for those who work in the industry, but for all of us who might like to enjoy a Welsh ‘staycation’ this summer! Our beautiful country has so much to offer, and if we can stick to the current rules for a few more weeks, we will hopefully have the chance to enjoy it.
You can keep up to date with Welsh Government announcements and information on their dedicated coronavirus page. As always, if you have any issues or concerns to raise with me as your local MP, please get in touch by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. My staff are continuing to work from home, and are as always, here to help in whatever way they can.
I hope you all keep well and remember – stay local, save lives – and keep washing your hands!