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LGA responds to Which? report on product safety and recall system

Cllr Simon Blackburn, Chair of the Local Government Association’s Safer and Stronger Communities Board, responded to a report by Which? on the UK’s product safety and recall system

"Council trading standards team play a crucial role in removing unsafe products from sale, prosecuting irresponsible sellers and helping to keep communities safe.

“Despite the significant budget cuts and resource pressures trading standards have experienced, they are still doing a key job on the frontline, and it would be unwise to think that their role could simply be picked up by a new national body.

“We mustn't forget that it is manufacturers who are wholly responsible for the safety of their products - especially when faults are entirely outside the control of the consumer – and for alerting them to any relevant safety information, including product recalls.

“With firefighters dealing with three tumble dryer fires a day and electrical products being recalled at a rate of more than one a week in the UK, consumers need all the help they can get in finding out about the safety of their electrical products quickly and easily.

"A new national database of product recalls should be supported by a major publicity campaign to help flag it up to consumers as a trusted one-stop site to check all electrical goods.

“Rather than a comprehensive overhaul, which is unnecessary, the product recall system needs realigning to best serve trading standards teams operating in local communities.

“Any change to the system should therefore consider how existing national regulatory resources, which are already working with local government, can better support trading standards team locally across the country.”

Related information from Which? can be found here

Notes to editor

  1. 61 electrical products were recalled in the UK in 2016 
  2. Government statistics show there were 2,190 tumble dryer fires between 2012 and 2014 – equating to three a day. 
    Fire Statistics Great Britain: 2013 to 2014 (last table on page)
    Fire statistics Great Britain 2012 to 2013 (fifth table)
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