Spending Review and Autumn Statement 2015
Responding to the Spending Review Melissa Dring, director of policy at the Chartered Trading Standards Institute, said it reaffirmed the need to restructure local services.
She said: “Trading standards is often the only form of support afforded to a business by its local council and as councils become increasingly reliant on business rates this presents a problem.
“Robust trading standards services are essential in order to promote and enforce a fair and level playing field, for businesses and consumers, and put simply many councils do not have this capacity.
“In the last five years budgets have already been slashed by 40 per cent which leaves about £130 million for all local authority trading services, while the National Trading Standards budget is less than £15 million.
“In reality, some services have been hit harder still, facing cuts of up to 85 per cent, and others have been left with just one trading standards officer.
“Meanwhile, intellectual property theft costs the UK economy £1.3 billion, mass marketing scams cost their often elderly victims more than £5 billion, annually, and the 2001 foot and mouth outbreak alone cost the economy £8 billion.
“Worryingly these huge sums account for just a fraction of the growing number of statutory trading standards duties and do not illustrate the human cost of weakened regulatory services.
“Elderly scam victims are more than twice as likely to need full-time care, BSE that infected 3 million animals spread to 200 people and life-long smokers who start as children reduce their life expectancy by an average of 10 years.
“We are calling for an urgent restructure of trading standards and because this locally delivered service has a national impact the government must have oversight of the process.”