Chartered Trading Standards Institute
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Trading Standards unveils manifesto to protect consumers and take on criminals

Stronger protection at ports/borders, school lessons in consumer rights and licensing of tradesmen among measures proposed.

The Chartered Trading Standards Institute (CTSI) has published its manifesto for the next Government with bold measures to protect consumers and to support local economic growth.

The manifesto “Helping Local Communities and Businesses to Prosper” 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 £1 trillion over the next 5 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 over 2000 Trading Standards posts nationally. Over the last decade funding has been cut by half and almost 50% of the workforce has been lost.

The full manifesto can be viewed here.

John Herriman, Chief Executive of CTSI who launched the Manifesto in Parliament said:
“Our Manifesto 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.

“CTSI is calling for a small investment of £100M in Trading Standards, which would be recouped more than ten-fold by reducing the detriment consumers face, increasing the tax take by clamping down on counterfeit products and averting future product or food safety crises that cost us millions.”

Christopher Hodges OBE, University of Oxford, Chair, Regulatory Horizons Council, said:
“Maintaining consumer protection faces serious threats of various kinds, particularly from diminished resources and from online and AI technologies. It is important to refresh local and coordinated arrangements across the nation now, adopting new approaches to regulation through providing information, generating collaborative support for local businesses, and delivering targeted enforcement.”

Katrina Phillips OBE, Chief Executive, Child Accident Prevention Trust, said:
“We fully support CTSI’s manifesto for change. Too often, we see the devastating consequences of unsafe products for children and their families. One mother described it as a grenade thrown into her home.

“Families need better protection through investment in trading standards and regulation of online marketplaces. And reputable businesses need protection too. Investing in consumer protection will reduce NHS costs and support the economic growth we all want to see.”

Lesley Rudd, Chief Executive at Electrical Safety First, said:
“We strongly back the calls in CTSI’s manifesto for proper resourcing of the UK’s trading standards infrastructure at ports, borders and across the country. Without this critical line of defence, consumers are at risk of dangerous products, which often should never have been available for purchase in the first place.”

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.

Channel website: https://www.tradingstandards.uk/

Original article link: https://www.tradingstandards.uk/news-policy-campaigns/news-room/2024/trading-standards-unveils-manifesto-to-protect-consumers-and-take-on-criminals/

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