Cutbacks may attract conmen

By Beth Sharp Friday 03 January 2014 Updated: 03/01 09:19

POTENTIAL cutbacks to Worcestershire Regulatory Services could put the elderly and vulnerable at the mercy of conmen and rip-off merchants, the county’s Labour leader has warned.

Worcestershire County Council has proposed to make £1.5million in cuts and slash the funding of the service which covers trading standards, environmental health and licensing, by 86 per cent.

Coun Peter McDonald said if the go-ahead was given, the service would not be able to function properly and may have to prioritise complaints, leaving residents to fend for themselves against rogue traders and ‘the Del Boys of the county’.

He said: “These cutbacks give the freedom for businesses to do as they please without fear of being caught.

“We will see counterfeit cigarettes, booze all being sold on our streets, Del Boy antics may have made us laugh, but in real life they will make us seriously ill.”

Coun Lucy Hodgson, responsible for localism and communities, said the proposals were at a early stage and no decision had been made yet so it was too soon to provide any in-depth information.

She said: “Like many other public authorities, Worcestershire County Council has less money to provide services and do the

things that local people have said are important to them.

“This means we have to find new ways to provide services.”

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