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Gillian Merron: I thank the hon. Gentleman for his comments. I can reassure him that there will be a proper consultation. From the Government point of view, it would be wrong to say otherwise. On whether certain aspects will produce the result that the hon. Gentleman referred to, it is not for me to predict the outcome of a consultation. I, of course, will look at the results of the consultation.
On the question of the difference between unmanned and supervised, that will be set out in the regulations. They will spell out exactly what is meant by supervision. We could go further than just a coin-operated sunbed, which has a member of staff on the premises at all times. Whatever the result, we must have regulations that work. At this stage, I am not sure that the hon. Gentleman should—he said he was perhaps being—
Mark Simmonds: Suspicious.
Gillian Merron: I thank the hon. Gentleman. I did not want to misrepresent him. [Interruption.] The hon. Member for Worthing, West obviously thinks he is not a suspicious man by nature. We will specify in regulations what “unsupervised” and “supervised” mean. That is the right place to deal with that matter. The time scale for regulations is to be determined. I hope that that helps Committee members.
5.45 pm
Julie Morgan: I thank hon. Members for their contributions.
I reiterate that there is a commitment from Ministers in the Welsh Assembly and in Westminster to advance the regulations as soon as possible if the Bill is passed.
The hon. Member for Boston and Skegness may be interested in what has happened in Scotland, where there is a definition of staff supervision. Coin-operated sunbeds can still be used, but they must be supervised. People can still pay for use in that way, but there must be supervision ongoing. There can still be coin-operated sunbeds, because that is just a method of payment, but supervision will be taking place. For me, the key issue is that there is supervision.
Question put and agreed to.
Clause 4 accordingly ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Clause 5

Power to require information to be provided to sunbed users
Question proposed, That the clause stand part of the Bill.
Julie Morgan: The clause gives the power to ensure that information is provided to sunbed users. It will be necessary for sunbed businesses to provide and display information about the health risks of using sunbeds. Regulations, if introduced, will also ban sunbed businesses from promoting the use of sunbeds as healthy. They should be prohibited from promoting unproven health benefits. The information that has already been mentioned in the debate is essential, not just for under-18s, but for people of all ages.
Sunbeds have been linked to various poor health conditions, including eye damage, photodermatosis, photosensitivity, premature skin ageing and skin cancer. People cannot always see straight away the damage that ultra-violet light does: the point has been made strongly that it builds up gradually and may be causing damage for years ahead. SunSmart, the UK’s national skin cancer prevention programme, says that
“short periods of intense, irregular UV exposure, like you get on a sunbed, are the fastest way to damage your skin”.
That happens whether the user burns or not.
It is crucial that accurate health information is provided to users of a salon, so that adults can make informed choices about the risks to their health if they decide to use a sunbed. The Bill would introduce a measure to provide health information in sunbed salons, via regulations, which I strongly commend.
Promoting unsupported benefits of sunbeds is irresponsible when we know that they significantly increase the risk of malignant melanoma, the most dangerous form of skin cancer, as well as prematurely ageing the skin. By using sunbeds people run the risk of sunburn and damaged skin for the sake of little protection against future sun exposure. Sunbeds are a not a safe way of building up vitamin D levels, as is often claimed. Other Committee members may be aware that some tanning salons have advertised to customers by saying, “Get your vitamin D here.”
This is an important part of the Bill. Along with legislation, it is important that children and other members of the public are made aware of the risks associated with the use of sunbeds. The national skin cancer prevention campaign called SunSmart, which is funded by the Department of Health and run by Cancer Research UK, aims to do that. It produces information warning of the risks associated with sunbed use. Ensuring that clear, accurate health information is displayed is another critical way to increase public knowledge about the dangers of sunbeds and to dispel some of the inaccurate myths that suggest that sunbed use is a safer alternative to the sun.
Mark Simmonds: First, the hon. Lady is right. Information is critical and it is fundamentally important to enable it to be accessed and understood by those for whom it is intended.
Clause 5(1)(a) states:
“to provide, in prescribed circumstances and in a prescribed manner, prescribed health information to persons who are using or may seek to use a sunbed”.
Will the Minister say who will be doing the prescribing?
Secondly, in respect of subsections (2) and (3), I should like to understand how the health information will relate to the Advertising Standards Authority, which claims that it already has in place standards and regulations that would override any false information being disseminated to the public. The Committee may well be aware that when the issue was raised on Second Reading, the Advertising Standards Authority had written to all hon. Members. It stated in that letter that the advertising code already reflects the UK law that covers misleading or unfair advertising. Is it proposed that subsections (2) and (3) should override the law that already covers the Advertising Standards Authority? If not, how will the two be juxtaposed?
Peter Bottomley: May I follow my hon. Friend and say that I am glad we are now moving from proscription to prescription? I hope that the hon. Member for Cardiff, North and the Minister might be able to say that part of the reason for the regulations is that if people are advertising in a way that is likely to attract the attention and interest of people under the age of 18, it would be highly undesirable. The information that should be prescribed could be put forward either by the Government or a Government-recognised body. Alternatively, it could be put forward by recognised operators of sunbeds who can agree with the Government and the medical professions what would be sensible information to prescribe. It is perfectly reasonable for the advertising standards people to maintain, quite correctly, that they can prevent wrong advertising, but I am not sure that they can require that the right information is given. That is probably the gap that the Bill properly identifies.
Gillian Merron: All sunbed users need to be aware of the health risks, which means that those who are over 18 also need to be aware of them. It is right that we have regulations to ensure that accurate information is, in a positive sense, available to users, as mentioned by the hon. Member for Worthing, West. I certainly share the view already expressed that users should not be misled by information relating to the so-called health effects of using sunbeds. Regulations that will prevent non-prescribed information from being available to sunbed users are, indeed, necessary.
We will consult on that because, although we welcome the provisions, they will, nevertheless, impose certain additional regulatory burdens on sunbed businesses. There will be full consultation on the provisions with interested parties, including representatives of the industry and the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills. It is intended that those discussions will take place in the period between the legislation being passed, as we hope it will be, and its coming into force.
On the question of who prescribes, it will be a matter for the Secretary of State to prescribe in his regulations, obviously following the consultation. On the important matter of co-ordination with the Advertising Standards Authority, we in the Department of Health will have discussions with BIS and the ASA to ensure that there is no duplication. For the reasons outlined by the hon. Member for Worthing, West, we quite properly feel that this is about prescribing what should be provided, rather than what should not be provided. I hope the Committee will support the clause.
Julie Morgan: Again, important points have been raised. It is important to remember that the Advertising Standards Authority can only investigate complaints. Obviously, there have been some complaints, which it has investigated. It is crucial to have clear, accurate and consistent information throughout the country. I think the Minister has already said that the provision will be consulted on before it happens.
Question put and agreed to.
Clause 5 accordingly ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Clause 6

Protective eyewear
Question proposed, That the clause stand part of the Bill.
Peter Bottomley: On a point of order, Mr. Betts. It might be acceptable to the Committee for the hon. Lady to move some of the clauses formally. If there are probing questions, she could then perhaps say a bit more if necessary.
The Chairman: Of course, an hon. Member does not have to move a clause. I am effectively saying that there is a clause stand part debate. If no one speaks, I will move straight to the question, but it is up to individual Members to take their own position on that.
Julie Morgan: Clause 6 is another simple clause. Its purpose is to ensure that protective eyewear is worn by sunbed users. Any person who carries on a sunbed business must make protective eyewear available to the users and ensure that they wear it.
Question put and agreed to.
Clause 6 accordingly ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Clause 7

Enforcement by local authorities
Question proposed, That the clause stand part of the Bill.
Julie Morgan: Clause 7 puts a duty on local authorities to enforce the Bill. It is important to say that the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health, the Local Government Association and the Local Authorities Co-ordinators of Regulatory Services, part of the local government group, all support the Bill. The message that I have received from those organisations is that local enforcement officers on the ground would like to have additional powers to inspect sunbed salons to ensure that minimum standards are being met. They currently believe that their hands are often tied because of the lack of appropriate legislation. Those organisations all welcome the legislation.
Mark Simmonds: Clearly, enforcement will be critical if the Bill is going to be a success, and I am delighted that all the local authority organisations seem to be uniformly agreed on the importance of this aspect of the Bill. I have one question about the schedule that is attached to the clause. The schedule notes the ability of the relevant authorised officer to enter premises. What is the notice period for entering the premises? Is it 24 hours, as is the case for local authorities entering houses in multiple occupation? A recent pharmacy regulation also gave 24-hour notice for the relevant officers to enter pharmacies.
There are pros and cons in having a notice period. On the one hand, the owner of the salon will know that somebody is coming to inspect and they can put things right and make sure that nobody under 18 is in there. On the other hand, it needs to be clarified; otherwise it could be open to legal challenge, which may stop the enforcement officer being able to regulate appropriately in the first place. The proper enforcement of the regulation will be key to the Bill’s success, so it is important that we understand that key element.
Nia Griffith (Llanelli) (Lab): Enforcement is extremely important and is vital to the success of any legislation. We are discussing a duty that will probably be undertaken by the environmental health departments of local authorities. In my local authority, that department is aptly called the public protection department, and it has done a good job recently by visiting local retailers and naming, shaming and punishing those that have been supplying alcohol to under-18s. It is crucial that we get the same sort of approach in relation to the Bill.
First and foremost, an information campaign must be aimed at young people and their parents to make sure that they are fully aware that a law is coming into force that will make it illegal for under-18s to use a sunbed in commercial premises. The message needs to go out loud and clear that we are banning them not because we are fuddy-duddies, but because there are genuine health reasons. The vast majority of young people will fully understand the problem when they are given those reasons and the facts and figures. We must accompany the legislation with a far-reaching and hard-hitting publicity campaign.
Enforcement largely depends on consensus among the general public. Therefore, if we think that something is amiss, we all have a duty to report. We need to make sure that people are aware of that, and of where they have to go and to whom they have to report. That way, we can suss out the sunbed premises owners and operators who are allowing under-18s to use their premises and take appropriate measures against them.
Thirdly, we need to have back-up for the local authorities. The LGA has made a clear point about the additional resources that it will need, and we passed the money resolution yesterday evening. We need to make sure that it has the necessary means properly to carry out and enforce the legislation. Without enforcement, it will be of little use.
We have to make absolutely certain that there is appropriate dialogue with the Local Government Association and the Welsh Local Government Association to ensure that we get all these points right and that we make this a highly workable and effective piece of legislation.
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