Trading standards are an essential service protecting the public from a wide range of threats: unsafe products; scams and rip-offs; loan sharks; counterfeiters; car-clockers; short measures; animal disease outbreaks; and wrongly labelled food.
Trading standards are relatively small compared with other council services but offer great value for money – for every £1 spent on the service consumers save £6.
Now local services are under threat from austerity cuts as councils have to cut their spending. Research by UNISON has shown that budgets for trading standards fell by 11% across Britain in the two years to 2011/12. The consequences of this are stark:
• a 29% fall in the number of prosecutions
• a 26% fall in the number of inspections
• a 24% fall in the number of enforcement visits
And the cuts have continued – with more to come. We fear spending reductions on this scale are seriously affecting trading standards’ ability to protect the public and keep up with rogue traders. The long term viability of the services is at risk. Trading standards services need public support – before the damage is done.
We the undersigned call for Government action to ensure trading standards services are adequately funded, and to set minimum service and staffing levels which protect their future viability.
The Support trading standards services petition to Government was written by UNISON Local Government and is in the category Consumer Affairs at GoPetition.