Wales politics

'Scores on the doors' bid for tattoo and piercing in Wales

Tattoo being done

Tattoo and piercing studios in Wales could be made to display scores on the doors in a similar way to restaurants, under Welsh Government plans.

Tougher controls would be brought in for tattoo parlours and clinics under the Public Health Bill.

Anyone performing acupuncture, body piercing, electrolysis and tattooing would need a licence to operate.

The proposed bill also bans under-16s from having intimate piercings including those in the tongue.

There are currently about 350 tattoo premises with licences in Wales, but there are many without, including self-taught tattooists called "scratchers".

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Media captionTattoo lovers in Cardiff City centre welcome licensing plans in new bill

Reintroduced for a second time on Monday, the proposed health bill would introduce a compulsory licensing scheme, giving local authorities the power to shut down any rogue business.

There would be enforceable professional hygiene and health standards which could result in prosecutions and fines.

As part of the licensing conditions tattoo artists would be required to give prospective clients consultations, telling a client how permanent the mark on their skin would be.

One new condition of a licence would "prohibit" allowing a procedure on a person who is, or appears to be, intoxicated.

If someone is found to have breached this measure they could have their licence revoked, meaning they would no longer be able to practice in Wales.

'More costly'

Kat Webb, a tattooist with over six years experience at Katdemon Ink, in Whitchurch, Cardiff, said the changes would boost the reputation of the industry.

She said it was surprising how many people came in for a tattoo at the studio and could not understand why artists were wearing aprons.

But she said many in the industry were worried the measures could increase operating costs.

"It's like being a doctor and not gloving up or wearing a mask in surgery," she said, adding the hygiene standards would protect both tattooists and their clients.

If passed the Bill would also make the intimate piercing of children an offence, under moves to protect young people from potential harm.

In Wales there are currently no age restrictions for any body piercing.

Under the rules tongue piercing would be classed as an intimate piercing, meaning if you are under 16 you will not be able to have it done.

Anyone caught piercing the tongue of an underage customer would risk an unlimited fine.

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