Bill on tattoos' costs could make its mark

Click to follow
Indy Politics
'I LOVE TERESA' could be tattooed on the arm of Betty Boothroyd, Speaker of the House of Commons, for pounds 25. Removing it would cost pounds 2,500, and the chances are, if the bill was to be picked up by the National Health Service, that Miss Boothroyd would have to wait a very long time for the plastic surgery, writes Stephen Goodwin.

This improbable scenario was put to the Commons yesterday by Teresa Gorman, Tory MP for Billericay, in support of her Private Member's Bill to require people wanting a tattoo to take out insurance against its removal.

Introducing the Bill under the Ten Minute Rule, she said that during the pre-election 'hue and cry' about NHS waiting lists, she discovered that 10 per cent of those waiting more than two years for treatment at Billericay hospital wanted a tattoo removed. The story was the same in other hospitals. The pounds 2,500 it cost to remove a tattoo - by acid-burning, abrasion, laser treatment or skin graft - could be better spent.

Even sailors regretted their tattoos and sometimes found them a bar to getting later employment, Mrs Gorman said. And the jolly tar who staggered from the pub and got 'Sharon' tattooed on his chest without knowing what he was doing, might wake up in the morning and find it was Tracey he really loved.

The Tattooing (Insurance Cover) Bill, granted an unopposed first reading, will be well down the list of private members' measures competing for limited Parliamentary time. However, since there is no known tattooists' lobby in the Commons, it is unlikely to meet much opposition and might just make it into law next year.