Published: 02 July 2024  (Updated: 02 July 2024)

CTPA Manifesto series #6: champion and enhance the competitiveness of the UK industry

By Dr. Emma Meredith, Director General, CTPA

And so here we are…. just a few days before the next UK General Election.   CTPA launched its Manifesto in February 2024, to raise the profile of the cosmetics, personal care and beauty industry with those in and hoping to be in Government and with other key stakeholders and influencers.  In my series of LinkedIn posts, I have enjoyed sharing my views on the key asks of the CTPA Manifesto.  These highlight the importance of our sector and the essentiality of our products – products steeped in science, governed by strict safety legislation and driven by the need to protect people and planet. 

Perhaps it is fitting that I end on the case for business.  CTPA speaks on behalf of over 225 companies, from multi-nationals to SMEs, representing the whole supply chain, covering over 85% of the UK industry, which was valued at over £9.5 billion at retail sales value in 2023[1], an increase of 9.7% on 2022.  Our sector employs people across manufacturing, design, R&D, marketing, sales, export/import, retail and services, including hair and beauty salons and spas.  In 2022, the personal care industry supported a total GDP contribution of £24.5 billion[2].  Companies are based across the nation, and, impressively, the UK cosmetics and personal care industry has the largest number of SMEs in Europe, at 1413[3].  The industry offers employment opportunities for a range of backgrounds, including scientific and technical expertise and highly skilled manufacturing roles.  The industry supported employment of 550,000 across all channels of economic impact in 20222, thus providing opportunities for individuals from all walks of life to bring new trends and innovative ideas to the market and contribute to GDP.

The CTPA Manifesto is therefore calling for action that will enhance the competitiveness of the UK industry for both import and export and champion the UK industry as a leader in product manufacture, design and innovation.  Fundamental to all this are stability and certainty, allowing businesses to plan with confidence.

Regulators need to understand how the industry’s global supply chains work in order to appreciate the economic scale and impact of new obligations, especially those requiring companies to change product labels or formulations, in order to avoid compromising UK competitiveness.  We are therefore asking that the UK Government takes into account global supply chains and we are offering to collaborate on packaging and labelling requirements, in terms of design and implementation dates. 

Realistic and workable lead-in times for any required labelling and formulation changes, where action is not linked to safety provisions, are also important in order to avoid costly and unsustainable destruction of unsold durable cosmetic products. 

It is also imperative that consumer choice is not eroded due to a reluctance by European companies to trade with the UK (or set up UK subsidiaries) because of the complications and potential duplications of safety legislation and labelling, including the need to have both EU and UK Responsible Person details on their packaging, or having to radically alter how that business is done. 

We see huge potential in the use of digital labelling to help address some of these potential barriers.

In addition, CTPA, alongside many other organisations, is requesting the return of tax-free shopping in the UK to boost tourism spending in stores and at airports.  This will attract shoppers to the UK, encourage brands to do business and invest in the UK and also help UK companies and retailers at a time when they are still feeling the pressures and impacts of Brexit, COVID and supply chain challenges.  Long-term, it will increase sales in the UK and could ultimately benefit the Exchequer through higher business sales, higher employment and higher corporation tax.

And that is the CTPA Manifesto…. for now!  Whatever happens on 4 July, CTPA stands ready and eager to work with the new UK Government, as a trusted partner, on the dedicated strategy to secure the continued sustainable growth of this indispensable industry. 


[1] CTPA 2023 Annual Report. (2024).  Data provided by Kantar Worldpanel and Circana

[2] Value of Beauty Report. (March 2023). Oxford Economics for the British Beauty Council

[3] Market Performance Report 2022. (2023). Cosmetics Europe, the European personal care association


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