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More protection recommended

Scotland poised to get new consumer group

shoppingA new statutory body to champion consumer rights should be established in Scotland, according to an expert report published today.

It would also address competition issues and co-ordinate enforcement measures.

The recommendation is made by an independent working group on consumer and competition policy, set up by the Scottish Government.

The Scotland Bill will transfer powers over consumer advocacy and advice, and elements of competition policy, to the Scottish Parliament.

Chairman of the working group, Rick Hill, said it would help create a more “joined-up approach” for Scottish consumers.

“The new organisation we recommend – Consumer Scotland – should work for a fairer deal for Scottish consumers and make sure their voices are heard.”

Deputy First Minister John Swinney welcomed the report. He said: “New powers will allow us to create a more integrated consumer protection regime that gets Scottish consumers a fairer deal, taking into account the extra challenges or costs that rural and island areas can often face in accessing goods or services.

“I am clear that any new consumer body must be high quality, efficient and accessible, so I welcome this comprehensive report that considers how to implement a new and innovative approach.

“We will study the report carefully and provide the Scottish Government’s full response in the New Year. I thank Rick and all members of the working group for their invaluable input.”

The working group says Consumer Scotland should

  • Work to develop a coherent consumer strategy that empowers, informs and protects consumers, making it easier for people to get help when they need it
  • Speak up for consumers at local, national and European levels
  • Improve co-ordination across the enforcement landscape
  • Work with businesses to help build effective and fair relationships with their customers
  • Raise the profile of competition concerns in Scottish markets.
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