Chartered Trading Standards Institute
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Help us stand up to criminals, CTSI urges next government

Criminals are benefiting while the lives and livelihoods of the public are being put at risk, says Trading Standards. 

The activities of scammers, rogue traders and serious organised crime organisations risk being decriminalised due to a lack of investment in vital consumer protection enforcement, the Chartered Trading Standards Institute (CTSI) is warning.

At its annual Conference in Leeds this week, CTSI is calling for the next government to prioritise investment in Trading Standards services, without which vast swathes of illegal activity will effectively be “decriminalised by the back door”.

CTSI is calling for: 

  • £100m in additional funding for Trading Standards services
  • A rethink of current Trading Standards and consumer protection funding models
  • A halt to the damage done to consumers and legitimate businesses by budget cuts
  • Recognition that continued underfunding will have tragic consequences 

CTSI warns that public safety is at risk from a series of escalating threats, including dangerous electrical products, unsafe building materials and substandard food.

Without urgent funding for Trading Standards services, it is only a matter of time until there is another tragedy on the scale of the Grenfell Tower fire, or a supply chain crisis like the horsemeat scandal, the Institute has cautioned.

With its theme of ‘Facing the Future, this year’s CTSI Conference is addressing the many challenges confronting businesses and consumers as they grapple with the consequences of Brexit, the explosion in online retail, the advent of AI, and emerging issues in the domestic energy-efficiency sector.

Other topics under discussion by enforcers, regulators and consumer protection experts at the event include food standards, animal welfare, electrical safety and the importance of consumer confidence to a fair and thriving economy.

CTSI is calling for the next government to invest £100m in Trading Standards services over the next four years to bolster the consumer protection workforce and support apprenticeship training schemes.

The Institute is highlighting the serious economic consequences of under-investment in Trading Standards, with consumers losing £54bn to rip-offs, rogue traders and unfair business practices according to the latest Consumer Protection Survey.

Local Authority Trading Standards services have been tasked with enforcing more and more pieces of legislation — almost 300 at the last count — at a time when their capacity has been decimated by budget cuts and a declining workforce. Over the last decade spending on Trading Standards has been cut by more than 50% to critically low levels — and the situation is now at crisis point, CTSI is warning.

During his opening speech at the Conference in 18 June, CTSI Chief Executive, John Herriman, said: “One of the main concerns we have right now is that without an effective and well-resourced Trading Standards service enforcing nearly 300 pieces of legislation there is a very real risk that we are seeing decriminalisation by the back door.

“The work of Trading Standards is vital in preventing major national emergencies and crises. Without controls on unsafe building products, we risk another Grenfell Tower disaster, which cost 72 lives and £6bn to the UK economy.

“Without checks on meat entering the food chain, we risk another horsemeat scandal, which caused huge reputational damage to the UK’s meat industry at home and abroad and cost the UK economy £850m.

“Trading Standards is critical to the success of the local economy, and the national economy doesn’t exist without the local economy.

“We estimate that £100m would make a significant impact on the issues of consumer confidence and working with the police and other agencies to help address rogue actors in the marketplace. The cost is a drop in the ocean and would have such a significant impact in reducing criminal activity, consumer detriment and helping to support economic growth.”

“We’re a very loud voice this year and we need to be heard,” Herriman added.

In its recently launched manifesto, CTSI is calling on the next government to build back the Trading Standards service by investing in its worforce; to create more confident consumers by investing in education and supporting the Approved Code Scheme which vets businesses in a range of sectors; and to enable businesses to innovate and prosper by embracing new ways of doing business with consumer protection at their heart.

Chartered Trading Standards Institute (CTSI)

  • The Chartered Trading Standards Institute (CTSI) is a national not for profit established in 1881 which supports the UK’s Trading Standards profession and works to protect consumers and safeguard honest businesses. CTSI's members are engaged in delivering frontline Trading Standards services at local authorities and in businesses.
  • The 2024 CTSI Conference is taking place from 18-20 June at the Royal Armouries in Leeds. For further information visit click here.
  • Please contact CTSI Press Office: for any queries.
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