A WEARSIDE MP is backing calls to protect schools and hospitals from potentially-lethal counterfeit cables.
Washington and Sunderland West MP Sharon Hodgson will today call on the Government to bring in tighter measures in Parliament.
Mrs Hodgson has called a debate in Westminster after visiting Washington’s Prysmian factory, which manufactures high-tech cabling for the energy and telecoms sector.
She was told of the threat to the UK’s cabling business of cheap imports which do not meet the strict safety standards of British cable.
As well as undermining British industry, she said faulty cabling can cost lives or ruin properties if they catch fire.
More than 20 per cent of all cable in the UK is suspected to be substandard cable from overseas, she said, failing basic safety requirements.
This unregulated counterfeit cable is undermining responsible British manufactures and causing widespread job losses in the sector, the MP said, and in the past 15 years, hundreds of thousands of jobs in the British cable sector have been lost at the gain of the overseas counterfeit cable distributors.
Statistics from the Department of Communities and Local Government show both injuries and fatalities caused by faulty electrical distribution systems have soared in recent years, with almost 4,000 domestic fires attributed to faulty domestic wiring from 2010 to 2011.
The MP intends to urge the Government to tackle the problem by changing the law to introduce quality checks on cable arriving in the country; introduce a requirement that all cable used in public buildings, as a minimum, in the UK is third party certified; add cable inspection and verification to the list of checks performed by building inspectors and prosecute those found to be installing non-certified cables in public buildings.
Speaking ahead of the debate Mrs Hodgson said: “In our technology-driven society cables are everywhere; in our schools, hospitals, homes, cars, planes, and trains. “I think many people will be shocked to discover that the UK has little regulation on these cables, especially as unsafe cables can easily cost you your life or your home if they cause a fire.
“Not only are counterfeit cables dangerous, they are also undermining British jobs and putting pressure on domestic cable manufactures, including the Prysmian factory in my constituency.”