Government reassures charity shops over safety standards

It says they will be able to continue selling second-hand goods bearing the European CE safety mark in the event of a no-deal Brexit

The government has assured charity shops that it will continue to recognise European Union safety standards on second-hand goods in the event of a no-deal Brexit.

The Charity Retail Association warned Greg Clark, the business secretary, earlier this month that charity shops faced "catastrophe" if the government refused to allow goods to be sold bearing the European CE safety mark rather than the proposed new UKCA mark.

The CRA pointed out that most goods donated to charity shops were acquired by their original owners some time before they were donated, so it was likely that charity shops would continue to receive them long after Brexit, and the cost of disposing of unusable stock would be "crippling".

But in response to a written parliamentary question from Toby Perkins, the Labour MP for Chesterfield, the government said it would continue to recognise the CE marking.

Kelly Tolhurst, parliamentary under-secretary at the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, said: "In the event of the UK leaving the EU without a deal, the government is taking the decision to adopt a continuity approach in some areas, such as CE-marked products, and continue to recognise CE marking, as now.

"This means that charity retailers and other second-hand retailers can continue to place second-hand goods with CE marking on the UK market, as before, for a time-limited period. There will be no need to reassess or re-mark goods, thereby minimising costs to business and consumers."

She said the government would consult with business, including charity retailers, before taking any decision to end recognition of the CE mark in the future.

A spokesman for the CRA said: "As a result of leaving the European Union, our members’ ability to trade in future should be disrupted as little as possible.

"We are delighted that the government has listened to our recent call to provide reassurance that they can sell goods with CE markings in our members’ shops, especially if the UK exits the European Union without a deal."

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