Protection for consumers in need of reform
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on 21 June 2011 - BIS
New proposals to simplify
the confusing and overlapping provision of consumer protection are
needed to better protect consumers, Consumer Minister Edward Davey
Under proposals set out in a
new consultation ‘Empowering and Protecting Consumers’,
ministers want to see a new simplified ‘consumer landscape’ with public
funding concentrated on two bodies that consumers trust and already
turn to for advice – Trading Standards and the Citizens Advice service.
Consumer Minister Edward
“This government believes in
giving more power to people. Our consumer policy is all about
empowering consumers to make the right decisions for themselves when
they buy goods and services.
“But we also need to ensure
we have the right system of help, advice and protection when consumers
need support. For too long people have been faced with a confusing
landscape of different, public, private and voluntary consumer bodies,
with overlapping roles and responsibilities. It is not always clear
where to turn for trusted advice and information which consumers need
to make good choices or a champion to support them when they have been
“The proposals which I have
published today seek to put an end to such confusion and make sure
consumers are empowered and have champions. The Citizens Advice service
has for a long time offered trusted advice, information and advocacy.
So it’s right that it sits at the heart of our plans.
“Likewise, Trading Standards
are trusted by the public to do a good job in enforcing consumer law
and standing up for consumers. But there are barriers which get in the
way of effective responses to rogues who operate across authority
boundaries. Our proposed reforms will strengthen their hand in tackling
these threats to consumers.”
Strengthening consumer power
helps drive competition, making businesses more efficient and
innovative. Reforming the consumer landscape was a key part of the
Government’s Plan for Growth, published at the time of the Budget, and
its focus on creating the right conditions to deliver strong,
sustainable balanced economic growth.
The consultation paper sets
out proposals for the Citizens Advice service – the familiar bureaux on
the high street and their supporting national organisations - to become
the single service that consumers can turn to for information and
advice. It will also act as their champion across a range of sectors.
In turn, this will help empower them to make more informed decisions
about the goods and services they buy.
It also sets out plans to
strengthen the leadership and coordination of Local Authority Trading
Standards Services in tackling difficult cases that cross local
The ‘Empowering and
Protecting Consumers’ consultation will run for 14 weeks
until the end of September and government is keen that consumers, the
voluntary and private sectors share their views on the proposed
- The ‘Empowering and Protecting Consumers’ consultation can
be viewed at www.bis.gov.uk
- Consumer policy is not devolved to Scotland or Wales
therefore the consultation applies in both those countries. However
consumer policy is devolved in Northern Ireland and so this
consultation does not apply there.
- The Plan for Growth was published along side the Budget in
March 2011. It set out a radical plan of reform to help create the
right conditions for business to start up, invest, grow and create
jobs, and can be found here: http://cdn.hm-treasury.gov.uk/2011budget_growth.pdf
- The Growth Review is a fundamental assessment of what every
part of Government is doing to provide the conditions for private
sector growth, removing barriers to private sector success wherever it
can. This is rolling programme over the course of the whole parliament.
More information on the Growth Review can be found at www.bis.gov.uk/growth
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Article Published/Sorted/Amended on Scopulus 2011-06-21 15:30:35 in Business Articles