HC Deb 28 March 1939 vol 345 cc1901-3
Sir Robert Tasker

I beg to move, That leave be given to bring in a Bill to provide for the registration of hairdressers and to regulate the practice of hairdressing; and for the purposes connected therewith. This is a Bill which was introduced previously in another place, and I believe that such opposition as was then shown has been met, and that the opponents have been satisfied. The Bill does not involve any charge on public funds. It is. really a continuation of a Bill which was passed by the House giving certain powers to local authorities to see that rooms in which hairdressing is done are kept in hygienic conditions, but that Bill did not permit the local authorities to exercise any control over the men carrying on the craft. To-day, hairdressing is something more than mere shaving and haircutting. Hon. Members know that there have been great advances in the technique of hairdressing, and that we are no longer in the days of Dickens, when sweet Angelina was very flustered at the prospect of her fiancee coming along and finding her in paper crackers. To-day, the hairdressing profession is really a highly skilled craft involving the use of electric current, machinery, poisons, chemicals and the like. It is not proposed under the Bill to exclude any practising hairdresser.

I submit that the Bill is one that connects two objects which cannot be separated one from the other, the benefit of the public, and the benefit of the hairdressers. It will safeguard all legitimate, qualified hairdressers, raise the standard of the craft, and lead to efficiency and skill; and that, in turn, will have a direct bearing on the health of the people. Observations that have been made upon hairdressing at the present time lead one to say that the hairdresser is much more skilled than the person envisaged in another place, where haircutting was described as an operation entailing the use of a pudding basin. I am not speaking for people who have to call into use a pudding basin to enable them to cut hair. I have in mind highly skilled men. It is desirable that they should be thoroughly and properly trained before they make use of chemicals and machinery which may lead to damage, the ill-effects of which are not immediately manifest, and for which, when they are no longer concealed, it is impossible to assign blame to the unskilled person; and therefore, one cannot recover from the hairdresser. To show how necessary it is to safeguard the public, I would mention that during the last five years insurance premiums have increased by no less than 600 per cent. It is desirable that all abuses should be eliminated, and that there should be no hardship inflicted upon those who are now engaged in the occupation of barbering and hairdressing, a body of people often traduced and stigmatised. I submit that the Bill is one that is worthy of Parliamentary consideration, and few things would be more agreeable to me than to secure the permission of the House favourably to consider the petitions of those whose sentiments I have endeavoured to express to-day. The Bill is one which, I submit, will do real good to a very deserving section of our people.

Mr. Montague

I do not wish to oppose the Bill, but I want to ask the hon. Member one question. Does he recognise that all the arguments he has put forward in favour of the registration of hairdressers are exactly of the same nature as the arguments with which he opposed the registration of architects?

Sir R. Tasker

I am glad to have an opportunity of correcting the hon. Member. I did not oppose the registration of architects. I opposed the registration of architects where it was proposed to give all power to one body, which represented less than half of the members of the profession. Here we have a united trade.

Bill ordered to be brought in by Sir Robert Tasker, Sir John Haslam, Mr. Leslie, Mr. Temple Morris, Mr. Magnay, Mr. Chorlton, Mr. Barr, Mr. Moreing, and Colonel Baldwin-Webb.