Research and Analytics

Environmental Services

Trading Standards Statistics

February 2009

Trading standards and consumer protection services are intended to secure and maintain a fair and safe trading environment by ensuring that individuals are protected and that businesses compete on equal terms. They form one of a number of key regulatory services within the environmental services responsibilities of local authorities.

Trading standards perform a range of functions, though there is a degree of variation between different authorities. They enforce over 80 Acts of parliament and have powers of prosecution. They also act as a source of information and advice to the general public. The services are located in county councils, unitary authorities, metropolitan districts and London boroughs in England, and in the unitary authorities in Wales and Scotland.


In 2008-09 local authorities in Great Britain are expecting to spend a total of 236m on the provision of the Trading Standards Service, with income of 23m anticipated from grants, fees and charges for services such as weights and measures testing. Net expenditure on the service shows a 5.3% increase from 202m spent in 2007-08. Over the same period the RPI has increased by 4.2%.

The Trading Standards Service is particularly labour intensive, with an estimated 70% of gross costs arising from employee expenses in 2008-09. More than 4,310 FTE staff were expected to be employed by services in Great Britain at 1st April 2008, which represents a decrease of 0.7% over 2007.

Consumer Direct is a telephone and online consumer advice service, funded by the OFT and supported by local authorities nationally to offer advice to people on consumer issues. It would appear that its impact has been very significant, with the number of consumer led enquiries and complaints falling from more than 1.2 million in 2002-03 to just over 500,000 in 2007-08, a drop of 58.3% over six years. In the last year alone, the number has dropped by 8.0%.

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February 2009

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