Beauty treatment black market emerges as Boris bans half of treatments

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The warning has come as the Government is facing severe pressure to ease lockdown restrictions on more sectors of the economy amid heavy criticism that there is no logic over who is allowed to open.

The issue has been raised by former cabinet minister and founder of the powerful Blue Collar Conservative caucus of MP Esther McVey.

In her latest Blue Collar Conservative Conversation podcast, she said: “People don’t understand why they can’t reopen and neither do I. Without businesses reopening we are hollowing out our towns and high streets and we are seeing incredible job losses as a consequence.”

Kathryn Lyon, head of hair and beauty at Manchester College, told Ms McVey that the government’s decisions appeared to be “male dominated”.

She pointed out that the beauty industry which was partially reopened this week but only allowed to do half its treatments, employs 250,000 people of whom 90 per cent women, and generates more than £1.25 billion to the Exchequer.

But while barbers can trim beards, beauticians have been told they cannot wax eyebrows.

She said: “People are still going out and getting their treatments, getting their eyelashes done or their nails done, their massage.

“It’s becoming an underground industry that is totally unfair on the therapists that have put in so much investment in time and effort to get the industry back up and running.

“But they don’t have the insurance, protection or oversight.”

Roberta Dyer, who owns Roberta Beauty Redefined in Knutsford Cheshire in Ms McVey’s Tatton constituency, was “shocked” that her business had not been allowed to reopen along with pubs and hairdressers on July 4.

She said: “I felt shocked at first then absolutely deeply saddened. I think I had a few tears that night. Felt so deflated. Extremely frustrating.”

She had been on a eight week course from her main skincare supplier to prepare for reopening and pointed out that beauticians have “as high a standards of hygiene as hairdressers”.

She suggested it was based on “pot luck” over which businesses got the go ahead.

LISTEN TO THE BLUE COLLAR CONVERSATIONS PODCAST HERE

But other sectors are warning that the slow easing of restrictions is having a major impact on the economy.

Simon Thomas, chief executive Hippodrome casino in Leicester Square in central London said that on a normal day 200,000 people passed the front door of his business in the West End.

“It’s more tumbleweeds than people at the moment,” he said. 

He said that the decision to allow bingo halls which have older more vulnerable clientele to open but not Britain’s 120 casinos which are “covid secure” was “completely illogical” and threatening 14,000 jobs in the industry as well as huge revenues to the Exchequer.

Another sector which is under threat is theatres and Paul Roseby, chief executive and artistic director of the National Youth Theatre, told Ms McVey that he could not understand why people are allowed to travel on planes but not go to the theatre.

He said: “There’s a nervousness about reopening because of the sheer scale of theatre.”

He pointed out that the enforced closures are already hitting regional theatres with the Theatre Royal in Norwich recently announcing redundancies while 92 per cent of theatre university graduates cannot get work or experience.

But on the economic impact he noted: “For every £1 spent in the theatre, £5 goes into the local economy.”

He said: “The majority of people get in the car and go to the theatre, they spend money in parking spaces, they then make an evening of it so they go out for dinner, they might buy something to wear for a special occasion if they go two or three times a year. That’s clothing, food and parking. That’s driving, that’s cars, that’s staff before you even get to the theatre.”

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