Retail and Manufacturing
Business, Innovation and Skills

Photo of Jo Swinson

Jo Swinson (The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Women and Equalities; East Dunbartonshire, Liberal Democrat)

The Government are committed under the Red Tape Challenge to reduce the burden of regulation which acts as a barrier to growth. Unnecessary regulation has to be removed especially if it is outdated and now covered by more current legislation.

We have laid before the House a statutory instrument which will amend and revoke two measures identified under the retail theme of the Red Tape Challenge. This is detailed in the second Government response and follows on from the initial Government response to the retail and manufacturing consultation which was published on 16 July 2012.

The second Government response details our plans to amend the Pyrotechnic Articles (Safety) Regulations 2010 to reduce the age at which children can legally purchase Christmas crackers from 16 to 12-years-old which is the minimum age allowed under current EU legislation (The Pyrotechnic Articles Directive 2007/23/EC). This is to promote greater personal freedom as heavy-handed intervention is unnecessary for Christmas crackers which are low-risk items.

Additionally, we will revoke the Pencils and Graphic Instruments (Safety) Regulations 1998 because the safety standards they refer to are outdated and no longer reflect current products and processes. The regulations mostly use safety limits which have remained unchanged since 1974. Currently, there are more recent product safety standards which cover the same areas and offer consumers a comparable level of protection. Therefore we are revoking the Pencils and Graphic Instruments (Safety) Regulations 1998.

The amendment and removal of these measures will not reduce consumers’ protections but increase clarity and make the law for business and consumers more straightforward.

The following regulation will be amended by the 6 April 2013 common commencement date:

Pyrotechnic Articles (Safety) Regulations 2010 (SI 2010/1554).

The following regulation will be revoked by the 6 April 2013 common commencement date:

Pencils and Graphic Instruments (Safety) Regulations 1998 (SI 1998/2406).

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