On Monday, you may have heard me on Woman’s Hour with Emma Barnett to talk about our All-Party Parliamentary Group on Beauty, Aesthetics, and Wellbeing inquiry into non-surgical cosmetic treatments. Currently, regulation into injectables and fillers is extremely weak. There are debates over whether these procedures should be undertaken by medical professionals or whether beauticians should be able to perform them, but it’s really important that whoever is allowed to perform them is trained to a high standard with the appropriate qualifications. You currently do not need any qualifications to do fillers – it’s completely absurd.
It was Blue Monday this week which the Samaritans have decided to turn into Brew Monday. I love this initiative – we know how difficult January can be for people and this year it is even more so. It was great to stop by the Samaritans van in Swansea to talk to some of the volunteers who have been chatting to those who stop by. We know far more now about the importance of our mental health and how important it is to talk to one another about the things that are on our mind and how we are feeling. We know the next few months will be difficult so let’s think about taking a moment to check in with friends, to give someone a call who might be lonely, and generally just to be kind and think about how we can support those around us. Equally important is reaching out, staying connected, and not being embarrassed or ashamed! We all need a chat sometimes.
I was pleased to chair a meeting of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Gambling Related Harm this week on gambling in the black market, as well as co-writing an artcile with Iain Duncan-Smith MP which appeared in The Times. We are determined to see greater regulation to tackle the gambling industry’s predatory behaviour and to reduce the harm caused, particularly to problem gamblers. This has brought with it some suggestions – from the gambling industry – that regulations could push gamblers into the black market. We will not allow this scaremongering to go unchallenged. We are not looking to ban gambling or even to make it particularly difficult to access; we simply want regulation in place that will prevent the exploitation of vulnerable gamblers and children.
I was pleased to co-chair a meeting of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Beauty, Aesthetics, and Wellbeing where we met with industry representatives to discuss the impact of Covid on the industry and the support that is so desperately needed. The next couple of months will be critical for the beauty industry as many businesses and independent practitioners are without income and many are unable to access any UK Government support. We need to continue to challenge the UK Government to ensure that support is there so that this sector can support the local and national economies in the recovery post-Covid. We know how vital this sector is, not only in its significant contribution to the UK economy as a whole, but also to local economies, where the sector helps to increase footfall in town centres and high streets.
I also met with the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Online and Home Electrical Safety this week to discuss the forthcoming Online Harms legislation. The Carnegie UK Trust has been saying since 2018 that the regulation of online harms should address ‘consumer harms’ as well as the impact of social media on the health and wellbeing of users. However, OFCOM is not an expert in electrical safety, so Carnegie have suggested that OFCOM work with specialist regulators already working within the sector to ensure that online harms regulation can include electrical safety. Faulty electrical goods sold on online platforms are incredibly dangerous and many people are exposed to these faulty goods without understanding the true dangers or how to reduce their risk of exposure. It was an incredibly interesting discussion and one which we need the UK Government to involve themselves in to ensure that the Online Harms Bill is as comprehensive and protective as it can possibly be.
Following on from the Everyone Deserves A Christmas hamper campaign and last year’s Swansea Together project during the first lockdown, we are planning to continue feeding the most vulnerable and isolated and those struggling financially whilst current restrictions remain in place. We began last Sunday by delivering 100 cooked dinners to people across the constituency and we will be doing the same each week. We are hoping to expand this by providing food parcels every Wednesday within the next few weeks.
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 team and I are here to help. And remember – stay home, observe social distancing, wash your hands regularly and keep Wales safe!