William Eichler 08 November 2019

Trading standards services surviving despite being ‘hit hard by austerity’

Trading standards services surviving despite being ‘hit hard by austerity’ image

Over 20 million illegal products have been detained by local trading standards services in the last year despite Government cuts, a new report has revealed.

The new study by the Association of Chief Trading Standards Officers has shown that local trading standards services prevented at least £42m worth of consumer harm in 2018/19.

This was despite seeing their budgets cut by up to 60% between 2010 and 2018.

The 20 million illegal products that local trading standards prevented from reaching consumers included over 15.3 million potentially dangerous cigarettes.

It also included more than 1.3 million other unsafe products including toys, electrical products and cosmetic products and in excess of 4.2 million counterfeit products.

The Value of Trading Standards Report, which for the first time calculates the impact and value delivered in a single year by local trading standards services in England and Wales, also shows that £4.9m worth of Proceeds of Crime was recovered, and £26.5m was prevented from being handed over to ‘doorstep criminals’.

More than 1,100 people were prosecuted for criminal offences and a total of more than 317 years’ worth of prison sentences were handed down.

‘This report clearly shows the massive impact that local trading standards services have in protecting our communities,’ said Trish Caldwell, chair of the Association of Chief Trading Standards Officers.

‘The work of local trading standards officers delivers huge value – from saving consumers millions of pounds to supporting some extremely vulnerable victims.

‘That trading standards officers have prevented over 20 million illegal products reaching consumers in the last year alone shows the scale of the threat they are responding to. Many of these products could have caused significant injury, and in some cases could have even led to fatalities.

‘This report shows the incredible value that local trading standards have delivered despite the significant reduction in resources that trading standards teams across the country have experienced in recent years as part of the wider reduction in funding available to local government.’

Steve Ruddy, vice chair of the Association of Chief Trading Standards Officers, added: ‘The National Audit Office’s 2016 report on the consumer protection system highlighted how trading standards services have been hit hard by austerity and huge budget cuts over recent years.

‘I hope the evidence in this report will help remind everyone of the absolutely vital work done by local trading standards services and of the crucial importance of continued investment to protect individuals and communities from harm.’

Photo: Cambodia, P.I. Network/flickr

SIGN UP
For your free daily news bulletin
Highways jobs

Education, Health and Care (EHC) Co-ordinators

Buckinghamshire Council
£30,874 - £37,188 per annum
Interested in a career as an EHC Coordinator? Come along to our drop-in event to meet members of the SEND team and find out more about the role! England, Buckinghamshire, Aylesbury
Recuriter: Buckinghamshire Council

Social Worker - Leaving and After Care

Essex County Council
£27775 - £41425 per annum + Plus Excellent Benefits Package
Knowledge, Skills and Experience * Diploma or Degree in Social Work, CQSW, CSS or equivalent * Registration with the Health & Care Professions Council (HCPC) as Registered Social Worker * Demonstrable capability of practice in accordance with curre England, Essex, Chelmsford
Recuriter: Essex County Council

Built Heritage Consultant

Essex County Council
Negotiable
Job Purpose
Recuriter: Essex County Council

Principal Social Worker

Telford & Wrekin Council
£44,632 - £47,534 per annum
We have an established management team, committed to developing excellent practice and ensuring that our staff receive the best support we can offer. Telford, Shropshire
Recuriter: Telford & Wrekin Council

ASC Occupational Therapist - Physical & Sensory Impairment Team

Essex County Council
£30300 - £41425 per annum
Essex County Council (ECC) is one of the largest and most dynamic local authorities in the UK, serving a population of 2 million residents, and has a England, Essex, Harlow
Recuriter: Essex County Council

Local Government News

Latest issue - Local Goverrnemnt News

This issue of Local Government News explores how councils can tackle modern slavery and trafficking in their supply chains, finds out more about Cambridge's first cohousing scheme and the launch of a new project to build a shared service pattern library for local government.

This issue also contains a special focus on children's services and how councils are protecting children following local safeguarding children boards being abolished.

Register for your free magazine