25 Jun 2008 : Column 7P

25 Jun 2008 : Column 7P


Wednesday 25 June 2008


Petition presented to the House but not read on the Floor

HMRC Workforce Change

The Petition of local businesses of Hove & Portslade, the PCS and others,

Declares the Petitioners serious concerns about the HMRC’s Workforce Change proposals which will close twenty-five offices, including Hove, and lead to a reduction in staff by 2300 across the South-East. The Petitioners further declare that the proposed changes in the HMRC are aimed at generating financial savings and do not take into account the quality of service delivery and the adverse impact both on staff and on customers.

The Petitioners therefore request that the House of Commons urges HM Treasury to prevent the planned closure.

And the Petitioners remain, etc. —[Presented by Ms Celia Barlow .] [P000188]


Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform

Window Blind Safety

The Petition of readers of the Alloa and Hillfoots Advertiser and others of like disposition,

Declares that looped operating cords on window blinds are dangerous, particularly to young children, as the tragic death of Menstrie toddler Muireann McLaughlin
25 Jun 2008 : Column 8P
in February 2008 and similar tragic deaths of children in the UK demonstrates. The Government should take all necessary actions to prevent further unnecessary deaths in the future.

The Petitioners therefore request that the House of Commons urges the Government to bring forward legislation banning looped operating cords on window blinds and curtains.

And the Petitioners remain, etc., —[Presented by Gordon Banks , Official Report, 4 June 2008; Vol. 478, c. 890.] [P000192]

Observations from the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform:

The Government is aware of the dangers looped cords in blinds and curtain products present for small children. Since 2004, DTI/BERR officials have been working with BSI to bring about important changes to the European standard on internal blinds. These changes, which we expect to see ratified later this year, will see the introduction of stronger warning requirements as well as a requirement for these products to be either supplied with suitable accessories to keep cords out of the reach of children or alternatively to include in the product design a mechanism that will achieve the same effect.

In addition, we are driving forward discussion within the General Product Safety Directive Committee on what more can be done to improve blinds safety in Europe. Banning looped cords as the Petition requests is not practical. There are many different types and design of internal blind (e.g. horizontal blinds, cellular shades, roller shades, Roman shades, vertical blinds etc) and with some the use of internal and/or external looped cords is critical to their functioning (e.g. the external loop on roller blinds). However, with many designs this is not the case and we will continue to encourage the current trend away from use of external looped controls where these are not necessary.

    Index Home Page