23rd May 2024

CTSI welcomes election date

The Institute says the election brings ‘opportunities for renewed investments in the vital work of Trading Standards.’


By JTS Staff
Journal of Trading Standards' in-house team
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There has never been a more important time than now to fly the flag for Trading Standards services across the UK

CTSI has welcomed Rishi Sunak’s announcement that the next General Election will be held on 4 July 2024.

The Prime Minister made the economy a central thrust of his election pitch, and CTSI’s recently published manifesto ‘Helping Local Communities and Businesses to Prosper‘ clearly sets out the vitally important role Trading Standards plays in helping to support and sustain a vibrant economy.

Sunak revealed the election date during a rain-swept Downing Street speech whilst Labour’s 1997 election anthem ‘Things Can Only Get Better’ blared from a nearby street. Things most certainly can, and must, get better for Trading Standards. While Sunak and Starmer are battling it out during this election campaign, CTSI said there is ‘an opportunity for renewed investments in the vital work of Trading Standards’.

CTSI’s manifesto sets out bold asks from the next Government which the UK’s Trading Standards Officers believe are necessary to protect consumers and safeguard law-abiding businesses. These measures include:

  • Stronger protections at the UK’s Ports and Borders – with almost half of goods entering the UK found to be unsafe or counterfeit, CTSI wants to see an additional 400 staff and greater resources allocated to undertake checks on goods entering the UK;
  • Clearer legal duties on online marketplaces such as Facebook Marketplace – less than half of consumers see these as trustworthy places to shop;
  • Introduction of lessons for young people in schools so that they know their Consumer Protection Rights;
  • Licensing of tradespeople who are involved in the green energy sector – this market is estimated to be worth £1trn over the next five years and Trading Standards Officers are concerned that consumers will be susceptible to criminal activity from fraudsters;
  • The appointment of a Consumer Champion in Government;
  • Investment in the Trading Standards workforce, including considering alternative methods of funding to plug the gap with more than 2,000 Trading Standards posts nationally.  Over the last decade funding has been cut by half and almost 50% of the workforce has been lost.

John Herriman, Chief Executive of CTSI, said: “There has never been a more important time than now to fly the flag for Trading Standards services across the UK and the vitally important role Trading Standards has in underpinning a vibrant economy, creating confident consumers and supporting business innovation and growth. These elements will be critical to the aims and objectives of the next Government that will be taking the reins on 5 July.

“Earlier this year we published our CTSI manifesto, which sets out the bold and necessary action we believe is vital to protect consumers and law-abiding businesses. The UK’s Trading Standards profession is at the heart of protecting consumers, and we provide a significant layer of defence, but this layer has been decimated in recent years, with the consequence that consumers are at an all-time high of being ripped off, and susceptible to buying products that may be substandard, counterfeit or dangerous.

“Now is the time that we must build back the Trading Standards workforce so that consumers can once again be confident, which is vital for the UK’s economic growth and prosperity.

“These measures, along with the urgent need for resources is an investment in UK consumers and our economy – without it, the UK will remain a dumping ground for unsafe and substandard products, criminals will continue to have the upper hand and consumers will suffer. Inaction is no longer an option – our system is at breaking point – and the next Government must grasp this nettle.

“Alongside opportunities for innovation in the ways consumers and businesses are protected, CTSI is also calling for a small but critical investment of £100m in frontline Trading Standards services. This would be recouped more than ten-fold by reducing the detriment consumers face, increasing the tax revenue by clamping down on counterfeit products and averting future product or food safety crises that cost us millions.”

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