Consumers and the economy at risk, warns TSIAudit Scotland's new report Protecting Consumers makes for grim reading but offers no surprises, says the Trading Standards Institute (TSI).
The downward trend in local government investment in trading standards has continued at a pace since Audit Scotland's last report into the state of trading standards in Scotland a decade ago.
TSI's chief executive Ron Gainsford said: "The Protecting Consumers report by Audit Scotland confirms what we already feared and knew – the continuing and disproportionate cuts on trading standards resources are reaching a point where vital protection and support for consumers and honest businesses is at risk.
"The writing has been on the wall for many years, but there is no doubt that compromising trading standards capability will prove to be the most ill-judged of economies by central and local government. We need to see combined government action in Scotland now before it is too late.
"The response to the 2002 report and also the critical report published by Consumer Focus Scotland in 2010 has been inadequate by far. Scotland's consumers and businesses deserve and increasingly need better.
"Trading standards practitioners in Scotland are doing a fantastic job with the ever scarcer resources that they have, but time has come to face up to the fact that salami-slicing and tinkering is no longer possible if we are to sustain healthy and safe communities, and help Scotland's local and national economies recover and grow. We are coming to a point of sink or swim – urgent action must be taken stop long-term and irretrievable damage to the trading standards service and its essential role as part of the fabric of Scotland's society and economy."
Notes to editors:
Contact the Trading Standards Institute press office on firstname.lastname@example.org; 08456089430 / 07780675815
To obtain a copy of the Audit Scotland report Protecting Consumers please contact Chris Holme, Tel: 0131 625 1653, email@example.com
The 2010 Consumer Focus Scotland report was called: Up to Standard - a review of trading standards services in Scotland www.consumerfocus.org.uk/assets/3/files/2009/10/CFS-Up-to-Standard.pdf
The 2002 Audit Scotland report was called: Made to measure - an overview of trading standards services in Scotland www.audit-scotland.gov.uk/work/local_national.php?year=2002