Trading Standards organisations in Scotland enforce consumer protection legislation, but the service has struggled in recent years due to a decrease in staff coupled with an increase in demand for their services due to the impacts of Brexit and Covid.
Local Authority funding for Trading Standards services from the UK Government fell from £34.7 million in 2010/11 to £32.8 million in 2020/21 and the service has seen a 32% drop in staffing levels over the last nine years. Trading Standards Scotland is funded directly by the UK Government while COSLA has responsibility for Local Authority Trading Standards services.
Ms Hyslop, who has been campaigning on this issue, has raised the need for increased funding and support from the UK Government for Trading Standards Scotland in a recent letter to the UK Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, Kwasi Kwerteng MP, as well as COSLA and the Scottish Funding Council. Ms Hyslop has also laid a motion in the Scottish Parliament to highlight the issues facing the service.
Commenting on the issue Fiona said;
“Two years on from Scotland being dragged out the EU, extra customs requirements and the damaging impacts are continuing to pile up as many of the import and export trade rule changes that have been delayed start to take effect.
“Trading Standards has an ageing workforce and reduced numbers at a time when Brexit and other issues – like environmental standards and providing Covid compliance support for health and safety colleagues – are an ever-increasing burden.
“The UK Government must take responsibility for the effect of Brexit, which the people of Scotland did not vote for, and the impact of their underfunding of the service.”
The following motion has been submitted to the Scottish Parliament:
That the Parliament recognises the increasing pressure on already under resourced Trading Standards Organisations throughout Scotland as a result of the impacts of Brexit and Covid; understands that the increased pressure on this service coupled with a lack of adequate funding will severely impact their ability to conduct the new customs checks required as a part of Brexit leading to an increase in low quality, non-compliant goods entering Scotland; recognises that these services have seen a 32% drop in staffing levels over the last nine years and a reduction in funding from Local Authorities from £34.7 million in 2010/11 to £32.8 million in 2020/21; calls on the UK Government to urgently increase funding to Trading Standards Scotland to support local Trading Standards Organisations and encourages all relevant public bodies to support this organisation in the recruitment and training of more Training Standard officers.