According to a Chartered Trading Standards Institute (CTSI) report published today, the total trading standards spend in Great Britain has fallen to just £1.99 per person, per year, with the total spend dropping from £213m to £124m.
It also found staffing levels of trading standards teams have fallen by 53% since 2009.
The CTSI argues this is the result of Government cuts, which have left the budgets of some trading standards teams below £200,000. This leaves a complex crown court prosecution beyond the reach of some local authorities.
The institute surveyed all 192 trading standards teams in Great Britain and received responses from 122. 81% admitted cuts had affected their ability to protect consumers.
Chief executive of CTSI, Leon Livermore, said, “We have a situation where trading standards teams in local councils are tasked with holding multi-million-pound firms to account, with just a handful of staff.
“This is in addition to their many other responsibilities in the community like catching rogue-traders, preventing disease in the food chain and providing business support to help grow the economy.”
Spending so little on market surveillance and consumer protection ‘simply does not make sense’, Mr Livermore said.
The institute is calling for a government-led strategic restructure of trading standards services.