Sunbeds (Regulation) Bill

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 12:57 pm on 29th January 2010.

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Photo of Bruce George Bruce George Labour, Walsall South 12:57 pm, 29th January 2010

I tried to make an argument, unlike the hon. Gentleman, who came out with a series of nonsensical words from his mind that he just invented this morning. I will carry on with my speech. He should listen to and read about the enormous number of very worthy people and organisations who have supported the Bill, together with the group that I represent. He may not think much of my views, but if he dares to come along to one of our meetings and put those arguments, he will hear a strong set of ripostes.

An enormous number of reputable organisations take a serious interest in the problems of skin and skin cancer. We are discussing one small aspect of the much broader issue of skin cancer, which the statistics clearly show is rising dangerously, with young people as the main victims. They enthusiastically go into these salons, not knowing what might lie ahead in 20 or 30 years. Not many young people think 20 or 30 days ahead, let alone 30 years. They should know that the figures for skin cancer are rising exponentially. That is without getting on to the big issue of global warming, which is likely to cause even more problems on top of those that are already being experienced.

In case the hon. Gentleman did not get hold of this document, the Sunbed Association says:

"The Sunbed Association would strongly urge you to use the opportunity at the Second Reading of the proposed Bill...to call for the Bill to be amended to include a requirement of compliance of all sunbeds in operation prior to 1 April 2009 to a maximum irradiance level of 0.3W/m(2). Alternatively, as a minimum, seek a commitment to a timescale for compliance implementation."

I have talked to the Sunbed Association and am delighted to say that it is supporting the proposals, because it recognises the enormous dangers. It probably knows the problems more than anybody, so to have the largest association of sunbed owners supporting the Bill is a great boost to the campaign.

No suntan is safe, and the consequences are there for all to see. We know how laxly young people treat the sun, despite the many consequences, and the use of sunbeds increases the risk of skin cancer. As I have said a great deal, the more and earlier an individual uses one, the more the risks rise.

Cancer Research UK found that of 4,000 sunbed users, 82 per cent. had first used them before they were 35, and some had cancer. A distinguished hospital in Dundee has produced a great deal of research that people ought to examine, as has the Health and Safety Executive. One can examine-not that I do, but it was brought to my attention-the amount of research being produced in other countries and by legislatures elsewhere that have seen the importance of tackling the problem far earlier than we have. That should spur us on.

My all-party group on skin supports the Bill, and our research has reached the conclusion that a number of sunbed institutions offer seemingly unlimited sessions, have tanning accelerators and high-powered machines, ask for no proof of age, make no comments on the risks for those who have fair skin and offer insufficient information on risks in general. That is the area of the market to which the Bill is targeted. Maybe it is an omission that it does not allow for chasing people into their houses and examining all their equipment, but that is beyond its scope and, I suspect, even beyond the hon. Gentleman if he were enthusiastic about the idea. The Bill is not intrusive, but if others do deem it intrusive, it is so for a purpose and most sane people would welcome it.

I am glad that the hon. Gentleman made no attempt to filibuster-I do not accuse him of that at all. He is entitled to spend 40 minutes talking about anything that he likes, subject to your will, Mr. Deputy Speaker. However, I hope that the Bill is not seen as party political and that Opposition Members will support it. I hope that time will be found for it, and I really hope that it gets through before the election, whenever that is, so that all parties and all MPs can take credit for the fact that a small piece of legislation might save at least 1,000 lives a year. If that happens, we can all feel satisfied.

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