With sales of counterfeit electrical products increasing by 12% in the last year alone, the charity Electrical Safety First is hoping a recent Early Day Motion (EDM) submitted by Jim Fitzpatrick, MP for Poplar and Limehouse, will prompt the government to tackle the issue.
A recent report by the charity – ‘A Shocking Rip-Off: The True Cost of Counterfeit Products’ – found that a million people had consciously bought a fake product in the last year. But it warns that the true figure is probably significantly higher, as others will have unknowingly purchased counterfeit goods.
The EDM follows hot on the heels of a major media campaign, which saw Electrical Safety First appear on national TV programmes and in most of the national press, to highlight the dangers of counterfeit electrical products and the need to buy only from reputable retailers.
Jim Fitzpatrick MP explained: “It’s not just the fact that a fake electrical product might not work properly or last long. In the worst case scenario, they can cause fires, kill and maim. As a former fireman, I am keenly aware of the tragic impact of domestic fires – almost half of which are caused by electricity and most of those by electrical products. That’s why I had no hesitation in submitting this motion.”
A similar motion has also been submitted to the Scottish Parliament by Clare Adamson MSP.
Electrical Safety First director general Phil Buckle added: “We hope these Motions will result in parliamentary debates, as it is only through raising awareness in this way that we can influence policy and ensure the impact of fake electrical products is taken seriously. Our report indicates the real damage they cause.
“Domestic fires caused by electricity are conservatively estimated at costing £1 billion, but the personal and emotional cost just can’t be measured.”
Previously, research by the Charity found that 40% of MPs polled thought Trading Standards should take the lead in preventing counterfeit sales in the UK. Among the recommendations made in Electrical Safety First’s new report is a call for Government to ensure enforcement agencies and local government have the resources to deal with the problem.