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Office for Product Safety and Standards — [Sir David Amess in the Chair]

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 2:30 pm on 9th May 2018.

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Photo of Carolyn Harris Carolyn Harris Shadow Minister (Equalities Office) (Women and Equalities) 2:30 pm, 9th May 2018

I totally agree with my hon. Friend. Like him, I have struggled greatly with Whirlpool. Communicating with the company has been extremely difficult.

The APPG will shortly produce a report on what we believe the Minister and the new office should look at, in terms of electrical safety, based on evidence received from a wide range of organisations. I will invite the Minister to the meeting in July, but he is welcome at any meeting. As we did with his predecessor, perhaps we could have a roundtable discussion—perhaps along with his officials—on these issues, the strategy and our report. I hope the Minister will indicate whether that may be possible.

As I stated earlier, I welcome the new office, but there are concerns about its priorities and strategy and what it will do to protect consumers. Electrical product safety must be a priority area, given the tragic consequences we have seen of white goods fires. I wish the office well, but as I am sure colleagues will raise, more needs to be done to reassure consumers, stakeholders and the electrical products industry that the office will provide the necessary strategic vision, have real power for consumers, support trading standards and be listened to across Government to help to protect the public from electrical product safety problems and fires in their homes.