Figures published by the Chartered Trading Standards Institute (CTSI) show that London Councils spend just £1.83 per person per year on trading standards. This has led to the government being accused of failing to adequately protect consumers and honest businesses with the national spend being just £1.99.
In additon the report shows shows trading standards staffing levels have fallen by 53%, since 2009.
Experts believe these cuts could mean just one complex crown court prosecution is now beyond the reach of some trading standards teams. Meanwhile, the economy has endured some of the biggest and most costly product and market failures in recent memory including vehicle emissions, hoverboards, tumble driers and horsemeat.
Leon Livermore, chief executive of CTSI, said: “We have a situation where trading standards teams in local councils are tasked with holding multi-million-pound firms to account, with just a handful of staff. This is in addition to their many other responsibilities in the community like catching rogue-traders, preventing disease in the food chain and providing business support to help grow the economy”.
“Spending so little on market surveillance and consumer protection, with an economy as large as ours, simply does not make sense but nobody expects a blank cheque.”
Mr Livermore said the institute is calling for a government-led strategic restructure of trading standards services, adding that Britain’s exit from the European Union may mean further pressure on budgets.
Read the full CTSI news item here