The new All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for the cleaning and hygiene sector has been inaugurated to represent the interests of the cleaning and hygiene sector in Parliament and influence MPs, ministers and Government. The British Cleaning Council, which sponsors the APPG wants the Group to put the status of the sector’s operatives as key and essential workers, and their priority for Covid-19 vaccination at the top of its agenda, in recognition of their role fighting the Covid-19 pandemic.
A total of 53 MPs and three Members of the House of Lords have joined the group, making it one of the bigger and most credible APPGs. Members of six parties are taking part – the Conservative, Labour, Scottish National Party and Democratic Unionist Party – and participants will include some of the most prominent Parliamentarians in the country, such as the former director of Age Concern, The Baroness Greengross, OBE, former Chancellor, the Rt Hon The Lord Lamont of Lerwick and the former CEO of Mitie, The Baroness McGregor-Smith.
The BCC is sponsoring the APPG. Chairman Paul Thrupp and Deputy Chairman Jim Melvin addressed the group at the inauguration. John Hines, from SC Johnson Professional, also updated the group on the work that is being done by the Global Handwashing Partnership to promote best practise in hand hygiene.
Said Chairman Paul Thrupp: “The formation of an APPG for the UK Cleaning and Hygiene Industry is a major step forward in gaining the true recognition this valuable industry demands and deserves. An industry that employs over 1.6m people, contributes over £54 Billion to the UK, which is around 5 per cent of the GDP, putting cleaning in the top 10 UK industries.”
Amongst the aims listed by the BCC for the group are:
- Recognition that all cleaning and hygiene staff should and must be considered key and essential workers.
- The creation of a recognised and universal training accreditation for cleaning and hygiene within the UK.
- Promotion of the real Living Wage
- Highlighting well-being and mental health awareness and commitment by the industry to full compliance of the Modern Slavery Act, within the UK cleaning industry and its supply chain.
- Commitment to accelerate the industry’s progress to the UK Governments sustainability and environmental targets and contribute positively towards the Government’s 2050 zero emissions target.
- Recognition of the important role of regulated cleaning and disinfection products, including parliamentary support in respect of the EU Regulations effect on distribution and in particular availability for the Northern Ireland market.
The BCC has been working alongside former MP for Stirling, Stephen Kerr, to support the establishment of the APPG, as well as encouraging member organisations and cleaning and hygiene companies to lobby their MPs to join.
He said: “I’m delighted to be involved as I’m passionate about the work that is done by this sector and I’m looking forward to it being more recognised by my former colleagues in Parliament. What Covid-19 and the pandemic has shown is that there is a need for a cleaning and hygiene voice inside Parliament, within Government and particularly within the relevant ministries and departments of Government to understand the crucial role paid by the sector.”
Added Thrupp: “This is a historic day for our industry. The establishment of the APPG is a major development for the cleaning and hygiene sector. I’m delighted that we have achieved this.
“The APPG will help ensure policy-makers are aware of the vital work we do and ensure the sector’s voice is heard in decisions that affect it. An industry of such large scale and huge importance as ours needs to have this kind of representation in Parliament.
“I’m particularly pleased that so many MPs have agreed to give the group their backing. Such widespread backing will ensure it is highly-credible and influential.”