For small businesses in particular, keeping on top of all the relevant legislation really can be a full-time job on its own. Consumer rights, environmental health, employment and, of course, the dreaded Health & Safety. Although it may appear to the contrary, government doesn’t exist simply to make life difficult for business and commerce, many of the laws are vital to all of us.
Not complying can at best be a nuisance and at worst, horribly expensive, without even considering our civic duty to operate within the law. To give one recent example of a shop in Croydon that sold knives to underage boys. The result? A £2,000 fine. Click here to read full story. The size of the fine suggests that there were other factors taken into account, possibly previous violations. With knife crime being such a major problem, it is not surprising that they are cracking down. Every business is open to prosecution if they operate without due consideration for what is allowed.
In this case it was Trading Standards who undertook the work and indeed carried out what they call “test purchases”. Our advice would be: first, do your best to stay within the law; second, if you have any questions or doubts, contact your local Trading Standards Office. They are also very good at answering questions on labelling, packaging and so on. Far from being intrusive the officers are for the most part very helpful. But the best bit? If you are found violating the law for whatever reason, it will stand very much in your favour that you have been asking them for advice over a period of time. It marks you down as a responsible business-person.
At AFCI.UK we do our best to advise our members on current legislation on a variety of topics. We are not lawyers but we can generally track down the relevant documents that will help you in a difficult situation. It is just one of the many benefits of being a member.