‘Right to repair’ law will come in this Summer


Home appliances such as fridges, washing machines and televisions should soon last longer, be easier to repair and cheaper to run, thanks to new Government plans. Ministers are set to introduce tough new rules for

electrical products to tackle ‘premature obsolescence’ – a short lifespan on products which often leads to unnecessary and costly replacements for the consumer. From this Summer, under new energy efficiency

legislation, manufacturers will be legally obliged to make spare parts for products available to consumers for the first time – a new legal right for repairs – so that electrical appliances can be fixed easily. The move is expected to extend the lifespan of

products by up to 10 years – preventing appliances ending up on the scrap heap sooner than they should and reducing carbon emissions at the same time. The UK generates around 1.5 million tonnes of electrical waste every year. The changes will also set far higher energy-

efficiency standards for electrical products which, overall, will save consumers an average of £75 a

year on energy bills. They will cut eight mega tonnes of carbon emissions in 2021 by reducing the amount of energy products consume over their lifetime – the equivalent of removing all emissions from Birmingham and Leeds each year. Business and Energy Secretary, Kwasi Kwarteng, said

these changes will put more money back in the pockets of consumers whilst protecting the environment.

Warning around safety Commenting on the Government’s plans, Lesley Rudd, Chief Executive of Electrical Safety First, called for a network of approved, competent repairers: “This well-intentioned green policy must consider the unintended consequences on consumer safety. Consumers should not attempt to repair their electrical appliances without the knowledge to do so safely. Poor repair work can lead to an increased risk of fire or electric shock. “The Government should give serious thought as

to who can carry out these repairs. At present consumers can not refer to a register of competent,

third-party professionals to get the job done. This risks incompetent repairers causing more damage to the products – and potential harm to consumers.” Elsewhere, manufacturers have come out in

support. Rangemaster said it believes these changes are necessary to protect the future of our planet. Sales and Marketing Director, Iskender Diker,

said: “The new rules, combined with the new labels and energy efficiency standards, will help consumers make more informed decisions on the appliances they buy, helping reduce their energy bills, while extending the investment in new appliances.” Electrolux UK and Ireland General Manager, Luke

Harding, added: “This is fantastic news and a win for the consumer. We welcome the legislation – in fact it’s something we have always offered; our spare parts are available for 10 years and we offer many other services designed to help prolong the lifespan of our appliances. However, general wear and tear on appliances shouldn’t mean adding to the global waste problem.”

Tens of thousands of retail jobs wiped out in second wave

Unemployment in the UK has fallen for the first time since the Coronavirus pandemic began. Overall, the unemployment rate was at five per cent

in the three months to January, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS), slightly lower than the 5.2 per cent economists had expected. Official figures showed that the number of workers

on payrolls increased for the third month in a row, up 68,000 between January and February. However, the overall number of people on payroll

has plunged by 693,000 since the start of the pandemic, and the ONS added that 123,000 payroll jobs were lost in the hard-hit retail sector. Younger workers (under the age of 25) also accounted for 60 per cent of the total jobs lost since February 2020. The Office for Budget Responsibility forecasted that

unemployment will peak at 6.5 per cent at the end of this year; it was previously estimated to peak at 7.5 per cent. Helen Dickinson, Chief Executive of the British

Retail Consortium, commented: “The last quarter of 2020 saw the lowest Q4 job numbers since 1999. “While the second wave of the pandemic swept

away tens of thousands of retail jobs, many more were saved by the Government’s furlough scheme, which is now providing support for 600,000 retail workers, a rise of 200,000 since December.” Ms Dickinson added: “This is likely to get worse if

the third lockdown wears on. Now is the time to rebuild the economy.”

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