To the UK government, BEIS and Defra ministers: we’re not done yet
The new measures for repair of washing machines, dishwashers, fridges and TVs are a good precedent, but not yet the Right to Repair we urgently need. Our petition is for more, to help our wallets and save the planet.
The UK government largely ignored recent recommendations by Parliament to reduce electronic waste through a comprehensive Right to Repair. It’s moving extremely slowly and this is clearly not a priority. Meanwhile, Big Tech and industry are pouring millions into lobbying against the Right to Repair across the world.
We in the UK are still the second highest producers of electronic waste in the world, per capita.
This is urgent.
We are asking for three things
1. Include everyone: DIY-ers and community repair groups
The new measures only give access to a wide range of spare parts and repair manuals to professional repairers, not to consumers and to community repair initiatives. Shouldn’t an engineer in another field be able to repair her own dishwasher? Shouldn’t a talented DIY-er or a Repair Cafe be able to repair a television?
If the UK is serious about doing better than Europe, it can simply extend access to spare parts and repair manuals to all, not just professionals.
2. Commit to smartphones, tablets and laptops, and other products
The European Union has committed to moving ahead with Right to Repair for smartphones and IT products, including tablets. (Currently tablets are no longer even included in the UK’s study on the future of the right to repair.)
The UK must commit to Right to Repair for all of these products, or more.
3. Lower the cost of repairs
A Parliamentary inquiry on electronic waste last year asked the UK government to reduce VAT on the repair of electrical and electronic products.
A recent study by Green Alliance showed 55% of people in the UK support green VAT measures like this. Only 9% oppose. And it could contribute to creating 34,000 jobs in the repair economy.
The government has dismissed the idea, saying it cannot afford this.
And yet, luxury yacht repair is zero-rated. It’s time to lower VAT for repairs for appliances and electronics.