Yvonne Fovargue MP: Time to regulate the online traders

Many people assume that online marketplaces are responsible for ensuring products sold on their platforms are safe, but this is not the case.

Thursday, 21st October 2021, 10:23 am
Updated Thursday, 21st October 2021, 10:24 am
Makerfield MP Yvonne Fovargue

A number of organisations, including the National Audit Office, Which? and Electrical Safety First, have raised similar concerns about the safety of products sold on online platforms.

I agree that tech companies must be made responsible for all products sold on their sites to ensure consumers are properly protected when buying products online.

Ministers should outline a clear plan to address the multitude of online harms, including unsafe products bought online.

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I believe better enforcement and redress are required. Online platforms should not be left to regulate their own terms and conditions.

The Office for Product Safety and Standards (OPSS) ran a consultation earlier this year on the UK’s product safety regulations, including those relating to e-commerce.

The Government has said it is currently reviewing the evidence received and will publish a response in due course.

More generally, I am concerned the Government has made significant cuts to funding for frontline trading standards services in the last decade.

I believe this will have a negative impact on their ability to inform and enforce consumer protection.

A consequence of this is that as we enter the Christmas period unsafe toys will be purchased as presents for our children and grandchildren.

Diabetes is one of the most serious public health challenges facing our country. Diagnoses have doubled in the last 15 years and the number of people living with the condition is estimated at close to five million.

A further 13.6 million people are now at increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

Concerted action is needed to improve care and treatment for everyone living with diabetes, alongside better access to technologies that will support self-management.

Investment in public health and measures to support the prevention of type 2 diabetes are also crucial.

The pandemic has had a huge impact across society. Research shows that people with diabetes have been disproportionately affected.

A report by Diabetes UK finds that a third of people with diabetes have had no contact with their healthcare professional team during the pandemic and one in three people are waiting for a cancelled appointment to be rescheduled.

Yet even before the pandemic waiting lists were rising. Years of underfunding, cuts and understaffing weakened and exposed our health service as the pandemic hit.

As a result, waiting lists now stand at a record 5.6 million, with over 293,000 patients waiting for more than a year for treatment.

It is essential that diabetes is a priority in the recovery from the pandemic.

I am concerned, however, that the Government’s plan to increase taxes to pay for health and care will disproportionately hit working people hard, including low earners and young people.

And Ministers have refused to guarantee that the funding will be sufficient to clear NHS backlogs.

In my view, the taxes that pay for health and care should be fair across the generations and all forms of income.

Ministers should bring forward a proper plan that will tackle backlogs and ensure our health service has the staff and modern equipment to deliver the care and treatment patients need.

This should be supported by improved access to new technologies that will allow people living with diabetes to better manage their condition.

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