Issued By
West Yorkshire Trading
Standards Service

NEW CONSUMER MINISTER VISITS WEST YORKSHIRE JOINT SERVICES

Today (Thursday) marks the fourth day of National Consumer Week 2003, a campaign run by Trading Standards, this year focussing on Underage Sales of age-restricted products such as alcohol, cigarettes, fireworks and solvents.

To mark the event, new Minister for Employment Relations, Competition and Consumers, Gerry Sutcliffe MP is visiting West Yorkshire Joint Services, the home of West Yorkshire Trading Standards.

He will tour the Consumer Helpline, a telephone based consumer advice service providing on the spot assistance to West Yorkshire residents about their rights when buying goods and services and what to do when things go wrong. The Helpline deals with over 70,000 calls each year, many of them relating to allegations of shopkeepers selling age-restricted products to youngsters. Indeed, at this time of year during the bonfire season, the Helpline sees a 40% increase in such calls because of complaints about fireworks.

Whilst at Joint Services, the Minister, who hails from Bradford, will also see for himself the other activities that Joint Services are involved in on a daily basis. He will visit the Archaeology Service who will show him artefacts from the Ferrybridge excavation, carried out in relation to the A1/M62 link road. These include a Bronze Age inhumation, flint daggers and barbed arrowheads that were interred with the body, which is around 4000 years old.

Afterwards he will visit West Yorkshire Analytical Services, an Official Food Control Laboratory serving most of the Yorkshire and Humber Region. Of the 18 000 samples analysed each year around 3 000 are food samples taken by the West Yorkshire Trading Standards Service. Samples are also analysed for other local authorities in the region as well as local and national companies and H M Coroner.

Councillor Graham Clarke, Chairman of West Yorkshire Joint Services, who extended the invite to the Minister during the annual Trading Standards Institute in Edinburgh in June this year says “This is an excellent opportunity for West Yorkshire Joint Services to demonstrate at first hand to the Minister the important work we do here and I am sure he will find the visit interesting and rewarding”

For further information contact:

Linda Davis General Media Contact 0113 383 6407
Graham Hebblethwaite Divisional Manager 0113 289 8218