News item

Trading standards save more than £280 million in damages at borders

A report published today estimates trading standards efforts to intercept unsafe consumer products at ports and borders saves the UK economy at least £281 million per year in costs of  injuries, fatalities and fires. 
The report concludes that an estimated 1.11 million unsafe goods were prevented from entering the consumer market.

The study was commissioned by the National Trading Standards board, which funds trading standards work at ports and borders, and produced by Matrix Knowledge. 
'Trading Standards provides a very important service at Ports and Borders,' said Consumer Minister Jenny Willott. 'First and foremost any product coming into the country needs to be safe for consumers.

However, we also need to crack down on those who try to bring in unsafe or illegal items to protect legitimate businesses trying to compete on a level playing field.' 

Today's results suggest that for every £1 invested in points of entry, net economic benefits range from £9 to £84 and the majority of border points included in the study returned a ratio of over £50 per pound invested. 

The research focused on the borders identified previously as posing the greatest threat as a route for unsafe consumer products to enter the supply chain including airports, ports and postal hubs. 

‘This research reinforces what we have known for some time, that money spent tackling the problem at the source of entry makes sound economic sense,' said Lord Toby Harris, chairman of National Trading Standards which funds the Safety at Ports and Borders Team in England and Wales said. 'At a time when public sector funding is under severe pressure the Safety at Ports and Borders work represents excellent value for taxpayer’s money. We are very grateful for the support of all the local authorities who have borders in their areas, including Suffolk, Southampton, Thurrock, Manchester and many others.
‘From exploding phone chargers to lethal chain saws, from harmful skin lightening cream to dangerous toys which pose a choking hazard for small children, trading standards officers prevent consumers from suffering serious harm on an almost daily basis via their intervention at borders,' Lord  Harris said. 
Notes for Editors:
For further information or to arrange an interview please contact the Trading Standards Institute press office on 0845 608 9575 or

Trading Standards Institute (TSI)
TSI is a training and membership organisation that has represented the interests of the Trading Standards profession since 1881 nationally and internationally.  We aim to raise the profile of the profession while working towards fairer, better informed and safer consumer and business communities.

TSI’s members are engaged in delivering frontline trading standards services in local authorities and in businesses. 
The National Trading Standards Board
The National Trading Standards board represents all trading standards services across England and Wales. The Board was established by the Government to improve the enforcement of laws intended to tackle rogue traders operating both regionally and nationally who are causing harm to consumers and legitimate businesses. The National Trading Standards board issues grants and funds national and regional initiatives such as Scambusters, the Illegal Money Lending Teams and Safety at Ports and Borders.
The 'Addressing National Threats Through Local Service Delivery' report done in 2009 by Matrix Knowledge, a research consultancy specialising in advisory and data management services to public and private sector organisations, foundations and charities in the health, justice, education and life sciences market. 

An earlier report, published by Matrix in 2009, found that work by Suffolk Trading Standards at Felixstowe  returned a benefit of £40 for each £1 invested.
The methodology used was to assemble data (including interviewing project leads and others) to design a model that would assess value for money of the work being done by the National Trading Standards Ports and Borders Teams. The research focused on the border points identified previously as posing the greatest threat as a route for unsafe consumer products to enter the supply chain including airports, ports and postal hubs.

DATE: 22 April 2014