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Publication - Report

Delivering better outcomes for consumers and businesses in Scotland

Published: 13 Dec 2016
Part of:
Business, industry and innovation, Economy
ISBN:
9781786526793

Provides details of our recently devolved consumer and competition powers.

12 page PDF

413.6kB

12 page PDF

413.6kB

Contents
Delivering better outcomes for consumers and businesses in Scotland
Delivering better outcomes for consumers and businesses in Scotland - our principles

12 page PDF

413.6kB

Delivering better outcomes for consumers and businesses in Scotland - our principles

In taking forward our work on delivering better outcomes for consumers and businesses in Scotland, we will embed the following principles.

Growth

1. Consumer protection and competition policy will support economic growth while upholding our values of a fairer, more equal Scotland.

  • Consumer trust is vital for businesses to thrive. A flexible, responsive system of consumer protection will ensure consumers can be confident they will be treated fairly when buying goods and services.
  • Open markets and empowered consumers will help businesses thrive when they are innovative, efficient and treat customers fairly, which will in turn support them to remain competitive in Scotland, the UK and internationally.
  • At a UK level, Scotland will have a stronger voice in consumer matters and competition policy. We will build relationships with regulators, enforcement agencies and industry to raise the profile of Scottish concerns and develop solutions that will benefit both consumers and businesses in Scotland.

Collaboration

2. Collaboration and flexibility will be at the heart of our approach.

  • Finding the best solutions means identifying the root of the problem. We will build on our relationships with industry, regulators and consumer protection agencies to develop more effective ways to identify patterns of harm and their causes.
  • Problems affecting consumers and markets vary and so do the solutions. Regulatory, competition and market-driven remedies all have a role to play in achieving better outcomes for consumers and businesses. We will use the right tools in the right circumstances.
  • Solutions to consumer and competition issues affecting Scotland should be driven by those who know the markets best. We will bring organisations, including regulators, consumer groups and businesses, together to deliver concrete actions that will make a real difference to the people of Scotland.

Empower

3. Consumers will be protected from harm, and empowered to challenge organisations to take their needs into account.

  • Scotland's consumers, particularly those whose circumstances make them more vulnerable, need to know that their interests are being protected. Consumers will have a strong voice to speak up when things go wrong, and to campaign against practices that could be harmful in the future. At the same time, consumers and businesses should be made aware when things are going well; good practice will be highlighted and shared.
  • Consumers will be supported to understand their rights and resolve issues. Advice and information will be available to all consumers when and how they require it, no matter their circumstances.
  • Consumers need to know that their voices will be listened to. We will put the consumer interest at the heart of our own work, and, in collaboration with regulators, consumer bodies and industry, develop more effective ways for consumers to actively engage in regulatory and policy making decisions.

Protect

4. Protecting consumers will also protect and support businesses, and encourage fair competition.

  • Businesses that work to treat consumers fairly should be protected from those that act unscrupulously. Ensuring that consumers know their rights, and enabling regulators and enforcement agencies to support good behaviour and more quickly detect wrong-doing, will help prevent any unfair advantages that may be derived by businesses that break the rules.
  • Businesses will benefit from a system of consumer protection that seeks to put things right, rather than simply punish wrong-doing. We will work to detect harm more quickly, and where possible, work with businesses that have made mistakes to help them improve.
  • Businesses will have more opportunities for growth. We will ensure markets are open and accessible to all businesses, creating an environment where businesses have the confidence to invest and innovate.

Competition

5. Scotland's competition policy should reflect its specific needs and circumstances.

  • We recognise the challenges and opportunities presented by the Scottish economy. By monitoring the competitiveness of markets and businesses in Scotland we can support businesses to innovate and adapt to make the most of the market.
  • Actions taken by government can have effects on markets. Best practice in competition starts with us; we will put in place procedures to ensure the market effects of our policies are considered.
  • Taking a collaborative approach to competition, within the Scottish Government, will ensure we keep pace with changing markets, technologies and business models.

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