§ Mr. Bright
asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what arrangements the Government are making to help secure consistency when responsibility for trading standards and related functions is devolved to the districts, as indicated in paragraph 2.13.1 of the paper placed in the Library by the Secretary of State for the Environment on 31 July.370W
§ Mr. Fletcher
The White Paper "Streamlining the Cities" (Cmnd. 9063) proposed that, on abolition of i.he metropolitan county councils, responsibility for trading standards and related functions should be devolved to the district councils, but stressed the importance of consistent standards of enforcement across each metropolitan county. This point was emphasised in responses to consultation.
In the more detailed document on transfer of functions published in July, the Government said that they were considering what measures might be appropriate to help secure such consistent standards of enforcement. They have now decided to include in the Local Government Bill a provision requiring the district councils in each metropolitan county to set up a committee whose function it will be to seek to co-ordinate enforcement and the use of specialist staff and facilities employed on enforcement work.
My right hon. Friend hopes that these committees will be instrumental in:
- a. ensuring that all district councils within their area adopt common levels of enforcement activity, and common interpretation of statutes :For both advice and prosecution work;
- b. maintaining or developing physical facilities (such as testing stations and laboratory services) for trading standards activities on a shared basis for the district councils within their area;
- c. establishing a co-ordinated approach to the staffing of the service within their area.