The Chartered Trading Standards Institute (CTSI) has condemned a decision by Enfield Council to decimate its Trading Standards team, and risks the borough becoming the first in the UK with no functioning Trading Standards service.
Following a decision by the Council to cut Enfield’s Trading Standards Service from four officers to one, the Trading Standards Manager has resigned in protest. From autumn this year Enfield Council risks being the first Local Authority in the UK to no longer have a Trading Standards service.
CTSI has warned that this will leave the 330,000 residents of the borough with no one responsible for enforcing a whole host of laws aimed at protecting consumers and protecting standards for business practices.
The Institute warns that the borough is playing a very dangerous game, including the possibility of the decision facing judicial review, and is urging those responsible to reconsider the plans.
Last year, Enfield Trading Standards: seized over 28,000 packets of smuggled cigarettes, 14.5kg of smuggled tobacco, and 1300 vapes; investigated over 1200 complaints and enquiries from businesses and residents including over 20 incidents involving rogue roofers and builders.
There is now concern that current priorities such as combatting the under-age supply and sale of illicit vapes and protecting consumers from poor quality and unsafe products including toys and furniture could be jeopardized.
Tendy Lindsay, Chair of CTSI, and also a local resident of Enfield said: “Last week the Prime Minister recognised the significant work that Trading Standards teams nationally are doing to tackle underage and illegal sales of vape products. This is just one example of the countless responsibilities Trading Standards teams undertake to protect consumers and uphold standards locally across the UK.”
“It is shocking and completely unacceptable that Enfield Council appears to not fully appreciate the consequences of what they are about to agree. It is 6 years ago next week since the appalling tragedy of Grenfell which could have been averted had necessary checks been undertaken.
“Local Trading Standards teams, including in Enfield, play a critical role in helping to tackle product safety issues, maintain food standards and combat illegal and unfair practices such as rogue traders, scams and doorstep crime.”
“If Enfield Council goes ahead with these cuts, then we are deeply concerned that this will send a signal to unscrupulous traders and criminal elements that the residents of Enfield are fair game for exploitation. We would urge the Council to reconsider this measure in the interests of their local residents’ safety and wellbeing.”
Enfield Council published its draft Council Plan (2023-26) in February and made a commitment to have strong, safe and healthy communities including tackling crime and anti-social behaviour. Trading Standards would have played a key role in supporting this, including enforcing over 290 pieces of legislation, which protect consumers, and maintain standards for businesses.
In the same week that the cuts were announced, the Enfield Trading Standards team successfully prosecuted a local business for supplying unsafe Christmas tree lights, the company was fined £40,000 and ordered to pay court costs.