Attached here is the official note, with my comments, of a 'round table' meeting held by Jo Swinson, the BIS Minister for the Furniture Regulations, and a selection of stakeholders. The official reason for the meeting was that Swinson wanted to hear a range of stakeholders' views before deciding on the fate of the proposed new match test. However, she already knew every view going; probably, the real reason for the meeting was that she didn't want to leave government (as she almost certainly would in a few months time, after the election) with such important safety measures unresolved.
The result of this meeting was that Swinson instructed BIS officials to a) commission British Standards to produce a new test foam, then b) implement the new match test in April 2016. The British Standards work was put strongly to her by stakeholders at this meeting. However, that work was never done and the match test remains unimplemented.
I think the reasons for this should become rather obvious when reading the actual words of those present at the meeting.
Elsewhere on this blog I report that I've challenged some of those present at the round table meeting to explain why they advocated delays to the match test for extra work to be done but never actually did it. No reply so far!
The meeting started with Toni Eldridge of Trading Standards giving a talk on the current and new match tests (as commissioned to do so by BIS), explaining in effect that the current test is failing in most cases, and that the new test will put right the problems involved. You may then wonder why almost everyone who subsequently spoke completely ignored what she'd said. Well, it might help to explain why if you take into account that the three massive industries most involved were (and are) currently gaining from the failed current test and would lose considerably from the new one, i.e. -
- The flame retardant industry (and its associated friends) would lose up to 50% of profits from products in cover fabrics overnight and possibly the whole lot very soon after.
- The chemical treatment industry would be heavily criticised in the short term when the introduction of the new test confirmed the erratic nature of the current test plus its capacity to allow the undertreatment scam to profit producers at the risk of the general public. In the long term, they would possibly lose all their business too, since the new test allows for the development of barrier technologies that require no chemical treatment.
- The furniture industry, mainly because the introduction of the new test would expose the fact that they have been selling flammable, unsafe products to consumers for decades and knowingly since at least August 2014 - exacerbated, of course, by the fact that they had either not embraced the new test fully (probably due to the same fear) or, as in the case of at least one major retailer (present at this meeting), had actively opposed it.