"The Department greatly values the work Trading Standards does to protect consumers from rogue traders and scammers. That is why last year we invested £14.5 million to fund coordinated enforcement action in England, Wales and Scotland.
"However, local authorities are independent from central government and are, therefore, responsible for their own finances and recruitment. This means that spending and resourcing decisions about local Trading Standards Services are for individual local authorities to make.
"Trading Standards should continue to look for new and innovative ways of working together, for example by sharing resources, to maximise their work with constrained resources."
Cllr Nick Worth, LGA regulation spokesman:
"Trading standards make a key contribution to economic growth, public health and safer communities in their local areas. They keep people safe from dangerous goods and scammers who con vulnerable residents out of their savings and support local businesses by giving advice and stopping rogue traders that threaten their honest trade.
"With central government funding to councils being cut by 40 per cent during this parliament, no service can be completely protected. But council Trading Standards teams will continue to work hard to maintain the best possible service and protection for residents and communities."
Former Director General of Fair Trading John Bridgeman:
"The Trading Standards Service plays a vital role in safeguarding consumer rights and the efficient working of consumer markets - essentials for our recovering economy. International experience clearly demonstrates the value of trained professionals protecting the public from careless and reckless suppliers, fraudsters, counterfeiters, scammers and even organised criminals. The cuts in the Trading Standards Service now apparent in so many parts of the country are an ill-conceived short term expedient which will cause financial harm which can be measured in £ billions and hit the vulnerable and less well off particularly hard. This is unsustainable. Britain's consumers deserve better."
Mary McAnally, President of the National Consumer Federation:
"There is no point in consumer legislation without enforcement says Mary McAnally, President of The National Consumer Federation. Local market surveillance protects consumers and law-abiding companies alike from rogue traders and scams, and saves money in the long run. The TSI survey shows a worrying sharp decline in the number of Trading Standards Offices round the country – consumers are being put at risk."
Lynn Faulds Wood, consumer journalist and former Watchdog presenter:
"I've worked with many Trading Standards Officers over the last 30 years on BBC Watchdog, breakfast TV and newspapers. I'm dismayed to see how local government is cutting back their vital role in protecting good businesses and the public. The cuts are already providing more opportunities for cheats and conmen and I urge the Government to step in to protect the Trading Standards service before it is too late."
Chrissie Florczyk, director general, Anti-Counterfeiting Group (ACA):
"A coherent and sufficiently resourced market monitoring and enforcement regime is critical to maintaining standards of safety and fair competition. This survey reflects a worrying picture that our members recognise from their daily work with local authorities. We are very concerned at the scale and speed of these staffing reductions and funding cuts which will leave consumers exposed and markets open to non-tax paying and unscrupulous rogue businesses.
'We are particularly concerned that there is no overall assessment of the impact of such drastic service reductions. Central and local government must articulate a clear plan to ensure that protections for consumers and businesses that trading standards provide are delivered."
Graham Wynn, Asst Director, British Retail Consortium and Chairman, Eurocommerce IMCO Committee:
"The BRC supports an efficient, effective, professional Trading Standards Service especially so it can provide an excellent primary authority service to retailers.
"Primary authorities should allow TS to target their scarce resources on the real rogues as a way of limiting TS exposure to spending restraint."