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Volume 972: debated on Monday 22 October 1979

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asked the Secretary of State for Trade when he expects to lay regulations concerning the safety of furniture from hazards by fire.

I hope to lay a draft of the proposed regulations on the ignitability of upholstered furniture before each House of Parliament by the end of November.

Does my right hon. Friend agree that, although we all want to see increased safety in furniture, as elsewhere, cost factors are immensely important, and that if she accepted the advice that she has been proffered by some quarters totally to ban plastics in furnitures the effect on the price of furniture would be astronomical?

My hon. Friend is quite right. Whereas I am absolutely determined to cut down the number of tragedies arising from the type of fire that is characteristic of polyurethane foam, I am advised that it is far more likely to be effective and less expensive to contain the inflammable contents by having a covering or an interlining which has a very low level of ignitability, rather than to ban the foam itself, which would push up the price of furniture considerably.