POLITICS

'EU Bans Your Vacuum Cleaner' Fuss Really Helped Our Economy

18/09/2014 12:49 BST | Updated 18/09/2014 14:59 BST

The fuss kicked up by Eurosceptic media and Ukip about EU rules banning energy inefficient vacuum cleaners has helped Britain's economy as shoppers rushed to buy vacuums, official figures show.

The Office for National Statistics said that store sales had risen 3.9% in August compared to last year, with electrical appliance shops enjoying a spurt in vacuum sales after reports that the European Commission would be banning those with motors above 1,600 watts from September 1.

Dr Howard Archer, chief UK economist from IHS Global Insight, noted: "Vacuum sales surged as consumers sought to buy high powered vacuum cleaners before the EU energy saving regulation came into force at the end of August."

The ONS said "it would be true to say that the underlying picture is one of growth".

See also: Ukip And Eurosceptic Media Gets Upset About Vacuum Cleaners

The Daily Mail hit out at the EU rules last month, while the Daily Express lamented: "They have forced us to change our light bulbs and banned our power-hungry plasma TVs. Now the EU has its eyes on its next target: our vacuum cleaners."

vaccum

"We're just going to have to suck it up," the Mail noted.

Ukip MEP Tim Aker told the Express: "This sort of barmy intervention from the European Union once again demonstrates why we need to leave as soon as possible."

Sir James Dyson, whose company pioneered bagless vacuums, said he would be seeking a judicial review of the Commission's rules, telling the Huffington Post UK: "The environmental impact of bags and filters is ignored."

He went on: "The label misleads people by showing the energy scores of vacuum cleaners tested without dust inside. Machines should be tested for real world conditions, not just for a Brussels test lab."

Concerns were raised after the Which? consumer group said many of its Best Buy models have motor sizes that exceed the new limitations.

Of seven awarded Best Buy status since January 2013, five have motors of more than 1,600 watts, Which said.

"If you're in the market for a powerful vacuum, you should act quickly, before all of the models currently available sell out," the group warned.

The European Commission argued that the new regulations will mean better vacuum cleaners for consumers.

European Commission spokeswoman for energy Marlene Holzner said in a blog: "As a result of the new EU eco-design and labelling regulations, consumers will also get better vacuum cleaners.

"In the past there was no legislation on vacuum cleaners and companies could sell poorly performing vacuum cleaners."