British safety, food, water and air quality standards are all under threat as vital inspections plummet, and laws are no longer enforced. That is the startling message today from twenty organisations representing a diverse range of interests – coming together for the first time in support of a new campaign, Unchecked.uk.

The Unchecked.uk campaign’s analysis, published today, shows huge declines in the budgets and staff of enforcement agencies overseeing vital areas of public policy – including environmental protection, health and safety and consumer protection. This has created a dangerous “enforcement gap”, highlighted in today’s briefing. [1]

In a letter to The Times, twenty major organisations from across UK civil society join together to warn that “steep reduction in inspections and monitoring of regulated business in recent years risks undermining the achievement of public policy objectives.” [2]

Emma Rose of Unchecked.uk said,

“The analysis we are publishing today is alarming, and is cause for serious national concern.

With important regulators operating with on average 50% less funding than ten years ago, there is a need for a closer look at the state of our public protection infrastructure.

“As a country we believe in fair play, common standards, and everyone playing by the same rules – but the truth is, the people we rely on to enforce those rules are being hamstrung. Today, we have launched Unchecked.uk to show that vital protections can no longer be taken for granted.”

Errol Taylor, Chief Executive of the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents, said:

“It is thanks to the work of public, private and third sector organisations that the UK’s world-leading safety system has, since the 1960s, saved the lives of at least 125,000 motorists and employees. It is a record that we should all be extremely proud of.

“However, in the last decade, a constant rise in home accidents is driving up hospital admissions, and putting increased pressure on other public services. We need to stem this rise, and the best way to this is through a combination of more, evidence-based interventions and a more robust regulatory regime.”

Arnold Pindar, Chairman of the National Consumer Federation said:

“We live in an increasingly complicated world, and we expect high standards – clean air, safe water, and better goods and safe products. Strong enforcement is needed to bear down on high-risk suppliers and rogues, and keep us safe from harm.

“However, enforcement capacity has been cut back since the early 2000’s, and Unchecked.uk’s research shows how serious this has become. It confirms the major concerns highlighted by recent National Consumer Federation Consumer Congresses.

“This cannot carry on.”

Kath Dalmeny, Chief Executive of Sustain, said:

“When food production goes unchecked, recent history tells us all too clearly that we end up with dirty meat, food poisoning, food fraud and substitution with unexpected species such as horsemeat.

“We all rely on independent enforcement teams to ensure that our food is safe, fit to eat, free from contamination and genuinely contains what it says on the label. This will become ever more important and challenging as the UK opens up to new trade deals and food imports.

“The Sustain food and farming alliance is proud to join diverse organisations in the Unchecked.uk campaign, unified in our support for high standards, trustworthy inspections and a safe and healthy food supply.”

Ends

 

Notes to Editors

[1] You can read Unchecked.uk’s briefing paper here: www.unchecked.uk

[2] The letter was published in The Times (paywall). The full text of the letter is as follows:

“Sir,

Our organisations represent diverse interests and priorities, but we are united in our concern about the growing pressure on local and national enforcement bodies, designed to keep us safe.

Never has it been more important to invest in our collective safeguards, yet analysis from the Unchecked.uk campaign shows the extent of the decline in the budgets and staff of enforcement agencies overseeing vital areas of public policy. The country is asking local authorities and key regulators, including the Food Standards Agency, the Environment Agency, the Health and Safety Executive and others, to do their work with on average 50 per cent less funding than ten years ago.

The steep reduction in inspections and monitoring of regulated business in recent years risks undermining the achievement of public policy objectives, and the shift towards industry self-reporting leaves the regulatory system vulnerable to abuse.

If enforcement teams are to continue their invaluable work to protect UK citizens, they must be properly equipped.

Emma Rose, Unchecked.uk”

Undersigned by the following:

Suzi Shingler, Coordinator, Alliance to Save our Antibiotics

Paul Bray, Coordinator, Birders Against Wildlife Crime

Anne Godfrey, Chief Executive, Chartered Institute of Environmental Health

Peter Stevenson, Chief Policy Advisor, Compassion in World Farming

Kierra Box, Brexit Lead, Friends of the Earth

Shaun Spiers, Executive Director, Green Alliance

Hilda Palmer, Coordinator, Hazards UK

Martin Baxter, Chief Policy Advisor, Institute of Environmental Management and Assessment

Jemima Hartshorn, Founder, Mums for Lungs

Arnold Pindar, Chairman, National Consumer Federation

David Powell, Head of Environment & Green Transition, New Economics Foundation

Miles King, Chief Executive, People Need Nature

Errol Taylor, Chief Executive, Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents

Sarah Whitebread, Head of External Affairs, Royal Society for the Protection of Birds

Ashton Collins, Director, Save Face

Kath Dalmeny, Chief Executive, Sustain: The alliance for better food and farming

Stuart Singleton-White, Head of Campaigns, The Angling Trust

David Lawrence, Senior Political Advisor, Trade Justice Movement

Ashley Smith, Director, Windrush Against Sewage Pollution

Kate Metcalf, Co-director, Women’s Environmental Network

 

About Unchecked.uk

Unchecked is a project of The Ecology Trust, a grant-making charity established in 2003 which seeks to tackle the root causes of environmental and societal problems. It was founded in 2019, and is supported by the JMG Foundation, The Kestrelman Trust, and The Funding Network.

Unchecked works with UK civil society organisations to make the case for proper investment in the public bodies that keep us safe. Unchecked maps the causes and consequences of weak enforcement and carries out public attitudes research around regulation and enforcement. www.unchecked.uk

For all media enquiries please contact:

Luke Holland / luke@cathoddu.com / 07447 008098

For further information on Unchecked.uk, please contact:

Emma Rose/ emma@unchecked.uk/ 07917 799 203

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British safety, food, water and air quality standards are all under threat as vital inspections plummet, and laws are no longer enforced. That is the startling message today from twenty organisations representing a diverse range of interests – coming together for the first time in support of a new campaign, Unchecked.uk.

The Unchecked.uk campaign’s analysis, published today, shows huge declines in the budgets and staff of enforcement agencies overseeing vital areas of public policy – including environmental protection, health and safety and consumer protection. This has created a dangerous “enforcement gap”, highlighted in today’s briefing. [1]

In a letter to The Times, twenty major organisations from across UK civil society join together to warn that “steep reduction in inspections and monitoring of regulated business in recent years risks undermining the achievement of public policy objectives.” [2]

Emma Rose of Unchecked.uk said,

“The analysis we are publishing today is alarming, and is cause for serious national concern.

With important regulators operating with on average 50% less funding than ten years ago, there is a need for a closer look at the state of our public protection infrastructure.

“As a country we believe in fair play, common standards, and everyone playing by the same rules – but the truth is, the people we rely on to enforce those rules are being hamstrung. Today, we have launched Unchecked.uk to show that vital protections can no longer be taken for granted.”

Errol Taylor, Chief Executive of the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents, said:

“It is thanks to the work of public, private and third sector organisations that the UK’s world-leading safety system has, since the 1960s, saved the lives of at least 125,000 motorists and employees. It is a record that we should all be extremely proud of.

“However, in the last decade, a constant rise in home accidents is driving up hospital admissions, and putting increased pressure on other public services. We need to stem this rise, and the best way to this is through a combination of more, evidence-based interventions and a more robust regulatory regime.”

Arnold Pindar, Chairman of the National Consumer Federation said:

“We live in an increasingly complicated world, and we expect high standards – clean air, safe water, and better goods and safe products. Strong enforcement is needed to bear down on high-risk suppliers and rogues, and keep us safe from harm.

“However, enforcement capacity has been cut back since the early 2000’s, and Unchecked.uk’s research shows how serious this has become. It confirms the major concerns highlighted by recent National Consumer Federation Consumer Congresses.

“This cannot carry on.”

Kath Dalmeny, Chief Executive of Sustain, said:

“When food production goes unchecked, recent history tells us all too clearly that we end up with dirty meat, food poisoning, food fraud and substitution with unexpected species such as horsemeat.

“We all rely on independent enforcement teams to ensure that our food is safe, fit to eat, free from contamination and genuinely contains what it says on the label. This will become ever more important and challenging as the UK opens up to new trade deals and food imports.

“The Sustain food and farming alliance is proud to join diverse organisations in the Unchecked.uk campaign, unified in our support for high standards, trustworthy inspections and a safe and healthy food supply.”

Ends

 

Notes to Editors

[1] You can read Unchecked.uk’s briefing paper here: www.unchecked.uk

[2] The letter was published in The Times (paywall). The full text of the letter is as follows:

“Sir,

Our organisations represent diverse interests and priorities, but we are united in our concern about the growing pressure on local and national enforcement bodies, designed to keep us safe.

Never has it been more important to invest in our collective safeguards, yet analysis from the Unchecked.uk campaign shows the extent of the decline in the budgets and staff of enforcement agencies overseeing vital areas of public policy. The country is asking local authorities and key regulators, including the Food Standards Agency, the Environment Agency, the Health and Safety Executive and others, to do their work with on average 50 per cent less funding than ten years ago.

The steep reduction in inspections and monitoring of regulated business in recent years risks undermining the achievement of public policy objectives, and the shift towards industry self-reporting leaves the regulatory system vulnerable to abuse.

If enforcement teams are to continue their invaluable work to protect UK citizens, they must be properly equipped.

Emma Rose, Unchecked.uk”

Undersigned by the following:

Suzi Shingler, Coordinator, Alliance to Save our Antibiotics

Paul Bray, Coordinator, Birders Against Wildlife Crime

Anne Godfrey, Chief Executive, Chartered Institute of Environmental Health

Peter Stevenson, Chief Policy Advisor, Compassion in World Farming

Kierra Box, Brexit Lead, Friends of the Earth

Shaun Spiers, Executive Director, Green Alliance

Hilda Palmer, Coordinator, Hazards UK

Martin Baxter, Chief Policy Advisor, Institute of Environmental Management and Assessment

Jemima Hartshorn, Founder, Mums for Lungs

Arnold Pindar, Chairman, National Consumer Federation

David Powell, Head of Environment & Green Transition, New Economics Foundation

Miles King, Chief Executive, People Need Nature

Errol Taylor, Chief Executive, Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents

Sarah Whitebread, Head of External Affairs, Royal Society for the Protection of Birds

Ashton Collins, Director, Save Face

Kath Dalmeny, Chief Executive, Sustain: The alliance for better food and farming

Stuart Singleton-White, Head of Campaigns, The Angling Trust

David Lawrence, Senior Political Advisor, Trade Justice Movement

Ashley Smith, Director, Windrush Against Sewage Pollution

Kate Metcalf, Co-director, Women’s Environmental Network

 

About Unchecked.uk

Unchecked is a project of The Ecology Trust, a grant-making charity established in 2003 which seeks to tackle the root causes of environmental and societal problems. It was founded in 2019, and is supported by the JMG Foundation, The Kestrelman Trust, and The Funding Network.

Unchecked works with UK civil society organisations to make the case for proper investment in the public bodies that keep us safe. Unchecked maps the causes and consequences of weak enforcement and carries out public attitudes research around regulation and enforcement. www.unchecked.uk

For all media enquiries please contact:

Luke Holland / luke@cathoddu.com / 07447 008098

For further information on Unchecked.uk, please contact:

Emma Rose/ emma@unchecked.uk/ 07917 799 203

< BACK