SNP MEP and Party President Ian Hudghton has welcomed European plans to update toy safety laws which have not been changed in twenty years. Mr Hudghton is a member of the European Parliament's Internal Market Committee which has given its approval to the plans.

The new EU rules will mean bans on harmful chemicals in toys (such as lead and mercury), stricter rules on imports from China, and size restrictions on toys inserted into sweets to avoid small children accidentally swallowing them.

Mr Hudghton commented:

"The EU is often criticised for interfering, but in this case it's absolutely right that we should taking action to update our laws on toy safety.

"I was surprised to learn that we import over ninety per cent of children's toys from China. Now we are proposing a much stricter set of safety requirements - and not before time - on toy imports from third countries.

"We have supported a package of measures to bring the legislation up to date. These include a ban on dangerous substances such as mercury or lead in toys, and a more limited use of chemicals and odours in toy production. The rules for producing safety warnings and instruction manuals are also to be tightened up and brought up to date.

"We have seen good cross party co-operation on this and it will now be over to European government's to make this legislation work. It may be not be ready in time for Christmas, but I am hopeful that it will be in place early in 2009."

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