Trading Standards news
On this page the primary aim is to update and make aware both businesses and consumers of new developments that impact on both these groups.
New Legislation Very Important
1. The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Business Closure) (England) Regulations 2020 (SI 2020 No. 350) require the closure of businesses selling food or drink for consumption on the premises, and businesses listed in the Schedule, to protect against the risks to public health from coronavirus. To see the related Government advice go to Gov.uk. The Regulations were amended on the 22 April 2020 by SI 2020 No. 447 and on the 13 May 2020 by SI 2020 No. 500.
2. The Animal Welfare (Licensing of Activities Involving Animals) (England) (Amendment) Regulations 2019 SI 2019 No.1093, (known as "Lucy's Law" see Gov.uk) were fully implemented on the 6 April 2020.
Regulation 2 amends a licence condition relating to the activity of selling animals as pets (or with a view to being resold as pets). The amendment precludes the sale of puppies and kittens bred by anyone other than the licence holder. Regulation 3 makes transitional provision for existing licences to be treated, in relation to sales made on or after 6 April 2020, as subject to a condition in the terms set out in regulation 2.
3. The Food Information (Amendment) (England) Regulations 2019 SI 2019 No.1218. From the 1 October 2021, the manner in which food businesses must provide allergen labelling information for Prepacked for Direct Sale (PPDS) food will change. On that date, PPDS food will need to have a label with a full ingredients list with allergenic ingredients emphasised within it. For more information go to the FSA website.
4. Offensive Weapons Act 2019. This Act received royal assent on the 16 May 2019. There are new criminal offences for selling corrosive substances to those under 18, possessing a corrosive substance in a public place and in relation to bladed articles.
5. Tenant Fees Act 2019. This Act came into force on the 1 June 2019.
The only payments that landlords can charge in connection with a tenancy are:
- the rent
- a refundable tenancy deposit capped at no more than five week's rent where the annual rent is less than £50,000, or six weeks rent where the total annual rent is £50,000 or above
- a refundable holding deposit (to reserve a property) capped at no more than one week's rent
- payments to change the tenancy when requested by the tenant, capped at £50, or reasonable costs incurred if higher
- payments associated with early termination of the tenancy, when requested by the tenant
- payments in respect of utilities, communication services, TV licence and council tax; and
- A default payment for late payment of rent and replacement of a lost key/security device, where required under a tenancy agreement.
All other fees are now prohibited payments and are not legal. Go to Guidance for the private rented sector
Which? Policy Report on Online Marketplaces and Product Safety
Product testing by Which? has found a succession of unsafe products for sale on online marketplaces in recent years. This includes toxic levels of chemicals in children’s toys; child car seats that are illegal to use in the UK; smoke and carbon monoxide alarms that do not work, and USB chargers that pose a fire or electrocution risk.
With over 90% of people now using online marketplaces to buy an increasingly wide range of consumer goods, these sites are no longer novel ways of shopping but normal practice for millions of people.
The report (pdf 250 kb) sets out the need for action to strengthen the legal responsibilities of online marketplaces and ensure that public authorities have adequate powers, tools and resources to require action from marketplaces when people are put at risk. Specifically, they are calling for a number of actions in relation to the following so that people can be confident they are only buying safe products:
- Online marketplaces should be required to ensure that consumer products offered for sale by sellers on their sites are safe.
- The actions that are required by online marketplaces when unsafe products are identified should be clarified.
- Equip enforcement officers with appropriate powers and resources to police online marketplaces.
- There should be greater transparency obligations so that consumers are clear who they are buying from.
Petitions Committee Fireworks Report 2019
On the 5 November 2019 the House of Commons Petitions Committee published its report on Fireworks (pdf 1.2 mb). The Committee expressed the view 'that the Government has so far failed to act in response to legitimate concerns about fireworks expressed through the e-petitions system. People rightly expect the Government to listen to them, take their concerns, and act.
Regulation of Property Agents Working Group - Final Report
On the 18 July 2019 the Regulation of Property Agents Working Group, Chaired by Lord Best released its final report. The working group was tasked with advising the Government on the way forward on a new approach to the regulation of property agents. The approach that has been recommended, includes proposals for:
- the scope of a new system of regulation,
- a new licensing regime,
- a framework for codes of practice,
- mandatory qualifications,
- transparency an use of leasehold and freehold charges,
- the set-up, functions and relationships of a new regulator; and,
- assurance and enforcement under the new system.
To see a copy of the full report go to Gov.uk
Furniture and Furnishing (Fire) (Safety) Regulations 1988
On the 18 July 2019, the BEIS published its response to its consultation on upgrading the Furniture and Furnishings (Fire) (Safety) Regulations 1988. The proposal is that it will focus outcomes and be underpinned by a set of essential safety requirements which all upholstered furniture must meet. In the meantime the existing Regulations will continue to apply.
To see the announcement from BEIS go to Gov.uk
The Trading Standards service continues to engage with national campaigns to alert consumers of the dangers of scams. This year's campaign took place over two weeks, from the 10 to the 23 June 2019. The first week looked at the group who have been identified as having the highest detriment from scams (Older people), whilst the second week looked at those who are now targeted by scams in volume (Life established).
To see a photograph of the event held in Newcastle on the 11 June 2019 with Councillor Nick Kemp, Cabinet Member for the Environment and Climate Change, together with Nicola Diston and Neil Duffy from Newcastle CAB go to photo (pdf 301 kb). More information on the national campaign go to Scams
The service aims to publish a newsletter on a bi-annual basis. To see the latest edition go to High Standard (pdf 1.2 mb)
Trading Standards service, Directorate of Operations and Regulatory Services, Civic Centre, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE1 8QH. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org