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Darren Jones, BEIS Committee Chair, presses Government to take urgent action on product safety

26 June 2020

The Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) Committee publishes the Government's response to its report on the safety of electrical goods in the UK follow up.

Darren Jones, Chair of the BEIS Committee, has also written today to BEIS Minister Paul Scully [here] to press the Government to act on a series of areas not addressed in the Government's response.

Chair's comments 

Darren Jones, Chair of the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee, said:

"In its response to the BEIS Committee's report, the Government concedes change is necessary but ultimately demonstrates a lack of urgency in taking the actions needed to ensure electrical products are safe and that consumers across the country are protected.

The BEIS Committee's original report [from November 2019] expressed concerns, shared by safety organisations, about the safety of Whirlpool's modification for its faulty tumble-dryers. Yet, the Government and its Office of Product Safety and Standards (OPSS) continue to think action is not required.

Ensuring the safety of products sold on online platforms such as eBay and Amazon is important and increasingly so given the volumes bought and sold online. The Government should help reassure consumers by spelling out exactly what measures they are taking to protect consumers on these platforms and what responses to their actions they have received from these online operators.

Safety initiatives including a national injury database, a comprehensive registration and recall hub, and indelible marking for electrical goods would make a significant contribution to helping protect consumers but the Government is committing only to yet another review, consultation or pilot. The Government should press ahead, act to ensure these measures become a reality, and also tackle the funding challenges faced by Local Trading Standards (LTS). In their consultation on the OPSS, the Government should look again at the case for a properly independent national safety body."

The original BEIS Committee report on the safety of electrical goods in the UK, published on 1 November [here] was critical of Whirlpool for its slow response in modifying or replacing faulty machines and of the company's use of Non-Disclosure Agreements (NDAs). The report also called for the establishment of an independent arms-length body, like the Food Standards Agency, equipped with a wide range of civil and criminal sanctions and the report also recognised the funding issues facing Local Trading Standards (LTS).

The Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee published its Second Report of Session 2019, The safety of electrical goods in the UK: follow-up (HC 156) on 1 November 2019. Due to the 2019 General Election, the response from the Government was delayed. The Government response was received on 12 March 2020 and is published today.

Further information

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