Northampton communities are getting to grips with the shock and awe cost saving ideas from Northamptonshire County Council. After twelve years of Conservative control and over seven years of Tory and Lib Dem government austerity, council services that have survived are already cut to the bone.
There is understandable outrage about the effect these new proposals will have on library services but other proposed cuts will also have a sizeable impact on local communities.
One of the cuts that hasn't had a lot of exposure, is the proposed 42% reduction to the Trading Standards budget. Trading Standards staff play a vital role in protecting the public and their work covers a wide area:
- Fraud (such things as rogue trading)
- Age-restricted sales
- Animal Health and Welfare
- Consumer & Business Advice
- Environmental Controls
- Consumer Product Safety
- Fair Trading (including weights and measures, descriptions, pricing, consumer credit, etc.)
- Food, Health and Agricultural Standards
- Licensing and Registration
Their recent successes in Northamptonshire include:
• getting compensation for a bride who had her wedding day ruined by a catering firm that included nuts in her wedding cake, despite her telling them that she had a nut allergy. You can read more here.
• Prosecuting shopkeepers who sold cigarettes to underage children. You can read more here.
• Taking dangerous skin creams off the shelves of shops. You can read more here.
• Taking a trader to court who sold an un-roadworthy and dangerous car to a local teenager. They also supported the young person taking the trader to court to get their money back. You can read more here.
The details about the cuts are in the Equality Impact Assessment (EqIA) here.
The EqIA gives a lot of detail about how older people and people with disabilities will be particularly adversely affected. This is a service which has protecting the public at it's heart. After the Grenfell tragedy, the mood of local people is to be more and more critical of the decades of deregulation and cost cutting that can link back to hazards, risks and health concerns. In addition to this, cost cutting will lead to an increase in sales of illegal tobacco and product testing is likely to reduce by over 50%.
Northamptonshire’s investment in the skills and equipment to provide a local product testing service generated income to a cash-strapped council. It now seems that investment will be collateral damage in the cuts to a service which is vital to the well-being of Northamptonshire people.
So what can be done?
Please sign my petition against all Council budget cuts here.
Please support my campaign to become the prospective parliamentary Labour candidate for Northampton North. If you are a member of the Labour Party, let me know that you are supporting my campaign. If you are not a member of the Labour Party, join us here.
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