§ Mr. Teddy Taylor
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, pursuant to the statement by his Under-Secretary of State on 11 January, why he requires to seek the prior approval of the EEC Commission before implementing his proposals to restrict the use of foams in furniture in the interests of safety.
§ Mr. Maude
In accordance with directive EC 83/189 on the provision of information on technical standards and regulations, member states of the European Community submit new proposals to the Commission of the European Community in draft. This provides other member states and the Commission with an opportunity to comment on the proposals from the point of view of any possible conflict with proposals for EC legislation, and in case the proposed measure could constitute a new barrier to trade which could not be justified by reference to the need for protection of health and safety of consumers or workers. These established procedures will be followed in the case350W of the proposed regulations for improved fire resistance of domestic upholstered furniture. Although the Commission has the power to prohibit the United Kingdom making any regulations which it believes would be a barrier to trade and can use the European Court to enforce its ruling, it would be unlikely to do so in any case where the regulations would affect United Kingdom and other EC manufacturers alike, as these would.