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Consumer and competition policy

Published: 30 Oct 2015 09:57

Recommendations for a new system following transfer of powers to Scotland.

Scotland should have a new statutory body to champion Scottish consumers, according to an expert report published today.

An independent Working Group on Consumer and Competition Policy, set up by the Scottish Government, recommends that a new body provisionally called 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.

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

Chair of the Working Group, Rick Hill MBE said:

"The expert Working Group's report and recommendations provides a platform for the Scottish Government to 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."

Notes to editors

The Scottish Government established the Working Group in March 2015 to consider optimal arrangements for deliver consumer protection and competition policy in Scotland. The report is available at: www.gov.scot/consumercompetitionreport

Membership of the Working Group is:

Rick Hill MBE – Chair

Sheena Brown – Scottish Government

Peter Freeman – Personal capacity

Richard Khaldi – Personal capacity

Susan Love – Policy Manager for Scotland - Federation of Small Businesses

Margaret Lynch – CEO, Citizens Advice Scotland

Jim Martin – Ombudsman, Scottish Public Services Ombudsman

Trisha McAuley OBE – Consultant

Pete Moorey – Head of Campaigns, Which?

Fiona Richardson – Chief Officer, Trading Standards Scotland

Lewis Shand-Smith – Chief Ombudsman, Ombudsman Services

Douglas Sinclair CBE – Chair, Accounts Commission

Jamie Steed – Scottish Government - Secretariat

More info at: http://www.gov.scot/Topics/Business-Industry/ConsumerCompetition