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I beg to move, That the Bill be now read the Third time.
The Sunbeds (Regulation) Bill will protect children;
that is why it has Government and cross-party support. It was clear on Second Reading and on Report that the Bill could save lives. I am grateful to everyone who has supported it, particularly those Members who turned out on more than one Friday.
I should like to put on the record how grateful I am to my hon. Friend Mrs. James for all her support. She has campaigned tirelessly on this issue for many years. I thank everybody who has made such an effort to support the Bill. It is important and it will protect young people. I commend it to the House.
I should like to join Julie Morgan in congratulating everybody who has been involved in getting the Bill to this stage. I include, of course, the hon. Lady herself and Mrs. James, who have both been tireless in their pursuit of that end.
The Bill is sensible and is supported by a significant amount of clinical evidence. If it is enforced properly over a period of time, it will make a contribution to reducing rates of skin cancer. It is vital that we should find ways of improving cancer outcomes in this country, and the Bill is one small contribution to that.
I want to make two final points. It is essential that we provide greater, more accurate and more easily accessible information to enable people who might use such facilities to understand the implications of doing so; I am thinking of those over 18 and those below 18, in respect of whom medical exceptions apply.
I should like to leave the Minister with this message: the success of the Bill will be in the evaluation and monitoring. That issue must be consistently looked at by the Department to ensure that if there are any improvements, the cost of the Bill is closely considered as it develops 12 months hence.
I wish the Bill swift passage, and I look forward to its receiving Royal Assent.
The Bill will save lives and protect the health of young people. It will also help to meet the educational challenge of raising the profile of this health risk. The truth is that most young people simply do not recognise the risk. When we read that 250,000 children have used sunbeds in England, we recognise the scale of that risk, as we do when we read that the International Agency for Research on Cancer has reclassified sunbeds and put them in the same category as smoking. We see the absolute importance of getting the message out to young people in particular, but to others as well, that there is a real risk involved and that we all need to take care of ourselves and avoid the risk of cancer. I congratulate the hon. Lady, and we will support the Bill.
I, too, congratulate Julie Morgan on her achievement so far in piloting the Bill through this place, because there is an overwhelming need for it. Nobody wants to legislate and regulate for the sake of it, but there are times when one has to save people from themselves either because of their ignorance of a problem or because of their bloody-mindedness and refusal to accept that something might harm them.
I am aware from a number of press reports of horrific stories involving young people who, either through ignorance, because they thought they knew better, or because of the poor operation of a salon, have done great and lasting damage to themselves, leading to great pain. I have had four operations in the past six years for medical conditions related to sunbathing many years ago, though I hasten to add not in a sunbed salon. It was done through ignorance, but I am paying the price now and hope that other people can learn from the mistakes and ignorance of my generation. If the Bill goes any way towards helping young people and others, through the restrictions on the age at which people can enter sunbed premises and the displays that will have to appear about the risks, it will be positive and a price worth paying in regulation to help the next generation.
May I, too, congratulate Julie Morgan on promoting the Bill? As will have been apparent, I have been trying to improve it, sadly without success so far today. I do not live without hope that it might be improved in the other place, and that the big gap in the Bill, which was exposed by the failure to include new clause 1, will be remedied. As my hon. Friend Mr. Burns pointed out, an even bigger gap is the fact that the Bill deals only with the exposure of young people and children to artificial UV. It does not deal with the much bigger problem of exposure to natural sunlight and burning. I hope that the hon. Member for Cardiff, North will show equal enthusiasm for campaigning for a reduction in VAT on sun creams, which would contribute to wider use of those-
Nobody would ever accuse you of being anything other than consistent, Madam Deputy Speaker. We much appreciate it.
I am not going to make a long speech, because I do not wish to vote against Third Reading. Although the Bill is not as good as I would like it to be, I grudgingly concede that it is probably better than nothing. As I said at the outset-the hon. Member for Cardiff, North picked up on this-if one person dies as a result of overexposure to artificial UV, that is one person too many. However, we are not just talking about deaths. As my hon. Friends the Members for West Chelmsford and for Gainsborough (Mr. Leigh) have pointed out, we are also talking about the worry and pain associated with melanoma and other conditions that, although not fatal, result in a need for medication or operations. They could be reduced if the Bill allowed us to give more publicity to the consequences and risks of overexposure to ultraviolet light, whether artificial or natural.
I take quite a lot of satisfaction from the fact that the hon. Member for Cardiff, North implicitly recognises that 16 and 17-year-olds are not responsible enough to be able to decide for themselves whether to use sunbed parlours. It flows from that that they cannot be deemed responsible enough to exercise the vote at 16, for which she has campaigned. That, however, is outside the strict terms of debate on Third Reading. I hope that the Bill will lead to more information becoming available, and more awareness of the health issues involved and, as a result, a better quality of life and standard of public health in the UK.
I am pleased and proud to speak to the Bill, and I apologise on behalf of the Minister of State, Department of Health, my hon. Friend Gillian Merron, who has played a key role in its progress. She is disappointed and sorry that other business prevents her from being here today.
I warmly congratulate my hon. Friend Julie Morgan, who should be proud of her achievement in introducing the Bill. In addition, I recognise the efforts of my hon. Friend Mrs. James, who has championed this cause too. It is a tribute to the energy and commitment shown by my hon. Friends that the Bill has gathered strong cross-party support and has reached Third Reading. Much has been said about the cities of Cardiff and Liverpool, which are known as sunbed capitals, but they are also known for their sport-rugby and football-culture and music. On behalf of the London Welsh contingent, I am proud to support the Bill.
As has been said during the Bill's progress through the House, the evidence is clear that sunbeds are a health risk, and that the risk is greater for young people. Mr. Burns spoke about his personal difficulties with sun treatment. We are pleased that he is well, and is active in the House. Voluntary self-regulation by the industry has not worked, and the Government are committed to taking action to prevent young people from harming themselves through sunbed use. The Bill seeks to prevent under-18s from using sunbeds by making it a criminal offence for sunbed businesses to offer them sunbeds. There are also provisions that set the scene for the future regulation of sunbed use. My hon. Friend the Minister of State, who has ministerial responsibility for public health, said:
"Should the Bill receive Royal Assent, the Government would begin consulting on further regulations...at the earliest possible opportunity, because the evidence is compelling."-[ Hansard, 29 January 2010; Vol. 504, c. 1082.]
We are committed to preventing cancer in young people. We have the knowledge, so we must act on it. As a result of the measures in the Bill, people will have a greater awareness and understanding of the risks of using sunbeds and of sun damage generally, not only to young people under 18 but to people of all ages, so I am proud to support it.
Question put and agreed to .
Bill accordingly read the Third time and passed.