GARY SAMBROOK- ‘A host of problems can be found with unregulated hand car washes’ - The Bromsgrove Standard

GARY SAMBROOK- ‘A host of problems can be found with unregulated hand car washes’

Bromsgrove Editorial 21st May, 2023   0

THERE are two main parts to being an MP – what you do locally in your constituency and what you do in Westminster.

Normally in this column I write about the many things I do in Birmingham Northfield but there is an issue I spoke about in Parliament which has sparked a lot of interest – unregulated hand car washes.

Every day I receive hundreds of emails – many from local people who need my help (in fact my office has dealt with over 27,000 emails since I became an MP in 2019).

Many others are from groups, organisations and charities to highlight particular issues.

It is not possible to meet them all but the one who wanted to discuss hand car washes caught my eye.

Most of us have a car and see these hand car washes – throughout the UK.

They seem a cheap and convenient way to get your car washed but underneath you find a host of problems.

Many are cash only to avoid tax, hurting public services and in some cases funding organised crime.

The people who work there are sometimes exploited and victims of modern day slavery. They use cleaning products which pollute the environment.

So how can Government help? Well there is a scheme called the Responsible Car Wash Scheme.

Many reputable car washes sign up to this and then you have peace of mind knowing you are not supporting bad practices while having your vehicle cleaned.

The catch is this scheme is voluntary. I do not look at Government regulation as the answer to everything but with unregulated car washes so prevalent and the crimes behind them being so serious, this is one area where Government can help.

I understand how people are tempted by cheap car washes but we are shortchanging ourselves – our public services need funding and it is not fair for some businesses to dodge their responsibilities.

We all want to do our bit to protect the planet and using harmful chemicals does the opposite.

We all want to see people who work hard get paid fairly for what they do – sadly many of these people are exploited.

Since I asked this question I have been contact by universities, other MPs and journalists all asking for more information and I am proud to have highlighted how serious issue this is.

I will continue to champion this cause.

So yes as an MP a lot of what I do, and perhaps what you see the most, is me championing development in the constituency, opposing unsightly phone masts in inappropriate places, promoting the best things about the local area and responding to thousands of emails from people who need help.

But the other side is finding issues that make a difference to people’s lives, highlighting it and arguing for that change.

Gary Sambrook

Northfield MP


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