Strong rules protect us from rogue businesses
Whether we’re buying groceries, booking a holiday or paying for home improvements, we should be able to trust what we buy. Consumer protections are crucial for keeping dodgy businesses in check and giving us confidence that the products and services we buy are what they say they are.
But most of the bodies whose job it is to check businesses are following the rules have suffered significant cuts since 2009. Falling budgets and staff losses mean that it’s getting more difficult for them to protect us from fraud, scams and dangerous products.
We should be able to shop safe in the knowledge that we’re not being ripped off. Join our campaign to stand up for the public protection bodies who keep dodgy businesses in check.
Cuts to public bodies mean businesses are going unchecked
A number of public bodies protect consumers by intercepting counterfeit products, catching rogue traders, and cracking down on fraud and scams. Trading Standards teams, the Office for Product Safety and Standards, and the Serious Fraud Office all contribute to making sure we can trust what we buy.
Most of these bodies have suffered significant funding cuts since 2009, with resulting declines in staff numbers. Local Authority Trading Standards have been hit particularly hard, with budgets falling by over 50% since 2009, and staff numbers falling by nearly two thirds.
Trading Standards services now spend an average of just £1.99 a year per citizen policing rogue traders.
On average, a Local Authority will prosecute a doorstep criminal less than once a year.
Councils have cut back on product safety testing, with half carrying out no chemical testing of everyday products in the last three years.