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Product Recall: White Goods

Volume 614: debated on Tuesday 13 September 2016

8. If he will take steps to support the London fire brigade's Total Recalls campaign on the implementation of changes to the product recall system by manufacturers of white goods. (906281)

Consumer product safety is a Government priority. We have an effective system of product recall and have established a steering group to consider the recommendations in Lynn Faulds Wood’s 2016 product recall review. We will engage with the London fire brigade on its campaign as part of our regular dialogue with them.

The Minister will be aware of the major fire in a Shepherd’s Bush tower block last month that was caused by one of an estimated 5 million defective Whirlpool tumble dryers. The tenant was in the same room as the dryer but could do nothing to stop the fire destroying her home and damaging 25 others. Does the Minister agree that Whirlpool’s advice that such dryers can continue to be used if not unattended is irresponsible and dangerous? Will she get it changed?

I was shocked to hear about the serious fire in the hon. Gentleman’s constituency and understand his concerns about the safety of tumble dryers. However, the advice provided by Whirlpool is based on a full risk assessment of the product that has been agreed with Peterborough City Council trading standards, which is the lead enforcement authority for Whirlpool. Trading standards will continue to monitor the situation and has powers to order further action if appropriate.

There are three tumble dryer fires each day in this country—almost 2,500 since the start of 2012. Will the Minister ensure that fireproof labels containing make, model and serial number are attached to all tumble dryers, so that machines can be traced to the manufacturer when fires do occur?

Although there have been serious fires, they represent less than 0.2% of the total number of tumble dryers sold, so we must keep things in perspective. Lynn Faulds Wood’s review provides an overview of the current consumer product recall system, and the independent recall review group, composed of industry safety experts and the Chief Fire Officers Association, will complete the work on the recommendations.