The government is putting the public at greater risk of falling foul to rogue traders, scams and unsafe products by its cuts to trading standards departments, a Black Country MP has warned.
West Bromwich East MP Tom Watson MP has spoken out about the threat and backed a parliamentary motion calling upon ministers to review the UK’s system of consumer protection.
Mr Watson said: “Trading standards is a front-line service and the Government has a duty to maintain adequate consumer protection. Yet little thought is being given to the consequence of budget decisions being made in Whitehall.
“In Sandwell alone the Government is putting the Local Authority in a near impossible situation. It has forced Sandwell Council to reduce its Trading Standards budget by 37 per cent and slash staffing by 30 per cent in just four years.”
The MP’s concerns have been echoed by a national trading standards workforce survey.
According to figures released by the TSI and the National Trading Standards board, by 2016 most trading standards services in England and Wales will have been cut by an average of 40 per cent since 2010.
The survey showed that as a result of these cuts more than 70 per cent of local authorities were planning to restrict or stop some trading standards services.
Mr Watson added: “Local Authorities like Sandwell are doing their best to manage a difficult situation but the blame here ultimately lies with ministers. There is scant regard for the impact such drastic cuts are having on the front-line.”