County councillors will debate the future of Gloucestershire’s Trading Standards service when they meet on the 4th of September. Liberal Democrat councillors have lodged a motion calling for the services to be protected, if possible, from further cuts.
Trading Standards has seen its budget cut by 51%, down from £2m in 2010/11 to just £1m in 2013/14. Similarly, the number of staff employed has dropped from 46 to 24.
Liberal Democrat councillors believe the service cannot take any further cuts without damaging the protection to the public and businesses that Trading Standards currently provides.
The proposer of the motion, Cllr. Jeremy Hilton (Kingsholm & Wotton) said: “The number of scheduled inspections and enforcements visits has dropped dramatically since 2010. There were just 139 scheduled inspections in the last financial year compared to 366 in 2010/11. This is a worrying trend. Trading Standards provides an important service, protecting the consumer and legitimate businesses from rogue traders. We should remember the horsemeat in beef products scandal and the important role Trading Standards has in inspecting food products. The service, in my view, just cannot take any further cuts.”
Cllr. Iain Dobie (Leckhampton and Warden Hill) who will second the motion said: “Trading Standards has to enforce over 100 Acts of Parliament. It does a vital job in protecting the public – especially the most vulnerable. With the county council’s new responsibility for public health, the work the service does protecting the public from unsafe goods and policing age restricted protects (such as alcohol and tobacco) is more important than ever. ”
The Liberal Democrat motion recommends that the Trading Standards service is protected, if possible, from further cuts during the life of the council (4 years).
Trading Standards Service undertakes a wide range of enforcement activities related to:
- welfare of farm animals and the prevention of disease outbreaks
- doorstep crime and rogue trader activity
- the safety of goods
- food composition and description
- age restricted products
- unfair trading practices
- weights and measures
- petroleum, poisons and explosives licensing.
“This council commends the public protection work carried out by the trading standards service in Gloucestershire.
This council notes that trading standards is a statutory service that protects the most vulnerable consumers in dealing with ‘rogue traders’ and also helps legitimate traders to trade well.
This council recognises that over the last three financial years, the county’s trading standards service budget and total number of employees has been cut by 50%.
This council is concerned that any further cuts to the current trading standards service may put individuals, communities and public health more generally at risk, and could damage local businesses and the economy.
This council therefore recommends that the trading standards service is protected if possible from further cuts during the life of this council.”
Proposed – Cllr. Jeremy Hilton
Seconded – Cllr. Iain Dobie