Right to Repair, sustainable manufacturing and The Labour Party

As many of you have noticed the Labour Party has now started to produce policy documents, so far on Health and the Economy. I wondered if anyone has had direct connection with the people writing these policy documents about right to repair and the wider issues of sustainable manufacturing, or if there is a group that is specifically working on lobbying for these changes. Has anyone seen any Labour Policy on this and could provide some links?

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Hi Nigel
Might be a longshot but get in touch with Micheal Cook at Circular Communities. He is a Right to Repair member in Sterling ( I believe ) Scotland. I think he is a bit more closer to policy makers or other government bodies. Regards

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Hi @Nigel_Rose,

We don’t yet direct contact with the team working on policy papers for the Labour Party. However we’ve heard that they seem interested in the issue. We know that Ed Miliband is personally passionate on smartphone repairs - here is an episode of his podcast from 2020, featuring Restart’s co-founder Janet Gunter, talking about smartphone repairs:

Now that Ed Miliband is Shadow Secretary of State for Climate Change and Net Zero, his team is likely to be working on this. We’ll share more when we find out!

I contacted my local labour MP who I know a bit and asked him to find out who’s leading on repair and circular economies, but haven’t heard back as yet. The policy paper on economics did not have any details about their wider approach to green economic policy. I’m sure Ed is onside but that doesn’t mean that the people writing the policy have the same level of understanding. In my experience, it’s best to write the policy for them.


I know my local MP (Andy Slaughter - Hammersmith) and could write to him. As previously mentioned Ed Milliband is the key environmental guy at the Labour Party.

Anyone who has contacts with their local council regarding re-cycling would do everyone a favour if they could persuade them to reduce the constraints on removing items from re-cycling centres. Following the survey which showed the amount of useable and repairable items that are thrown away, it makes no sense to prevent anyone from taking anything away from their sites.
If there was some form of disclaimer available for signature, the council could be absolved of any responsibility for problems incurred by the remover.
There have been several occasions when items which I have had for repair could have been sorted out with the help of spares taken from jettisoned goods in the skips but, of course I was denied access to them by the staff and management of the council re-cyling services.

Hi @David_Michael_Willoughby , we agree that reusing items from recycling centres should be made not just easier, but…mandatory! We foresee some policy opportunities in coming months to make this ask heard, and we’ll share these when they become available.

However, we know that any solution to this would have to take into account that a minority of discarded products do contain personal data, so adequate sorting would need to be implemented. Also, we suspect it all comes down to staffing levels in order to organise a system where this can be handled well. The system is broken and definitely needs fixing!

This is the reply I got from my MP

I’m not aware of any explicit commitments from Labour on ‘right to repair’, but we would certainly encourage the development of a circular economy and sustainable products. As recent ‘right to repair’ regulations came through the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, I believe it would be under the brief of our Shadow Secretary of State Jonathan Reynolds.

Regarding your point on the impact of the Retained EU Law Bill; the UK set its own Right to Repair Regulations in July 2021, which are in line with EU regulations regarding legal obligation for manufacturers to make spare parts available to professional repairers to fix appliances. I have spoken to House of Commons researchers about these regulations and related guidelines, and this area is unlikely to be touched by the Bill as drafted.

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Thanks for sharing that Nigel.

It’s interesting to see them refer to the 2021 regulations and it’s good to hear that those are unlikely to be scrapped. But while those particular set of rules were indeed in line with EU regulations, they are pretty limited in their scope and fall far short of the universal Right to Repair we need:

Feel free to share that article if you think it may help.

The EU has continued to develop new repair rules since 2021 (see a recent example here), but nothing has happened in the UK.

With this progress and recent breakthoughs in the US, the UK risks being left behind, so coming out in front on Right to Repair and circular economy policy should play a key role in any policy demands we make of Labour and other parties.

We know that Right to Repair is wildly popular, across demographics and political leanings, so it should be a no-brainer:

It would be really interesting if they could confirm whether Jonathan Reynolds would indeed be leading on this area of policy development for Labour (and if not, who is?)

James. I’d be happy to write a draft of a letter to Jonathan Reynolds for discussion and for the restart team to send. Doubt whether I’d get a reply if I wrote myself. It would be based on the EU Circular Economy Action Plan and the associated Right to Repair proposals and would include the research you quote. The other option is to ask my MP to make the inquiry on my behalf. He might be prepared to do that.

Thanks Nigel, I’ll chat to @ugo (who’s not around this week) and @Fiona_Dear, as they cover this kind of policy work more than I do. Let’s see what’s possible :+1: