The LGA understands that the professional bodies for trading standards, the Chartered Trading Standards Institute and Association of Chief Trading Standards Officers, will be submitting detailed responses on the technical issues considered in the consultation paper. This response is therefore focused solely on the key strategic challenge facing trading standards as a local government service.
- The consultation paper acknowledges that the system of public enforcement on consumer issues is under considerable pressure, with two third of English authorities reporting that they do not have the expertise to cover fully the range of statutory duties required of trading standards teams.
- It must be recognised that these capacity issues are the result of cuts to local government budgets, amounting to £16 billion less from core government funding between 2010 and 2020. Although the measures outlined in the consultation paper make some attempt to mitigate the impact of this, the key challenge of funding for local services is not addressed.
- Government has previously recognised the challenges facing the service, but its review of trading standards (from 2015) and the subsequent Cutting Red Tape review of local government regulation remain unpublished.