EU Directive 2007/46/Ec

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 6:13 pm on 4 September 2013.

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Photo of Jonathan Reynolds Jonathan Reynolds Labour, Stalybridge and Hyde 6:13, 4 September 2013

On behalf of my constituents, I thank you for granting me this adjournment debate, Mr Speaker. I thank the Minister in advance for his response. I hope that we can achieve a positive outcome. I realise that this is a very specific topic. It is a technical and perhaps quite dry subject, and I doubt whether millions of people are at home, glued to BBC Parliament right now, but it is vital to small and medium-sized businesses whose working practices are now affected by this directive.

The issue that I want to raise and discuss is not the directive itself, which in principle I have no issue with and which does make sense. It will improve safety standards across Europe, and open up a wider market to UK manufacturers—both things that are, of course, advantageous. I want to focus on its implementation in the UK, which I believe could be done much better. In particular, I am very concerned that no further assessment or scrutiny has been carried out since the initial impact assessment back in 2009, just before the first part of the directive was due to come into effect. However, I do not simply want to criticise; I want to work with the Minister, to tackle some of the issues. I hope that the process can be made much easier for businesses in my constituency of Stalybridge and Hyde that have contacted me about it. I would like the Government to carry out another assessment on the directive now—this is paramount—before it is fully implemented next year, to address the issues that I will present this evening.

I have my own interest in this area. As vice-chair of the Associate Parliamentary Manufacturing Group, I work with colleagues across the House who share my passion for manufacturing. I have been keen to address this topic because it is hitting exactly the sort of businesses in my area that everyone wants to give more support to. I am talking about small and medium-sized manufacturing businesses, providing skilled, private sector jobs in the north of England.