New consumer network
A network to ensure that consumer protection is at the core of Scotland’s economic recovery has been established.
Stakeholders from organisations including Advice Direct Scotland, Trading Standards, Citizens Advice Scotland and the Scottish Government will work together to generate improved services, greater value for money and better buying choices for shoppers.
The Consumer Network for Scotland will:
· share information and agree coordinated actions
· identity and prioritise areas to be tackled collectively
· consider issues arising from the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic
Speaking at the first meeting of the Consumer Network for Scotland, Business Minister Jamie Hepburn said:
“This new network brings together consumer advocacy groups to help build stronger partnerships, tackle consumer harm and identify potential risks.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way many of us purchase goods and services making it more important than ever that we have the correct measures and support in place and hear directly from those representing consumers as we continue into recovery.
“The group will also have an important role to play in helping the Scottish Government in its work to build a fairer Scotland for consumers. Once Consumer Scotland is established the network will work closely with it in exchanging information and providing mutual support. Consumer Scotland will support and help the network evolve, ensuring this valuable source of intelligence and knowledge continues.”
CEO of Advice Direct Scotland Andrew Bartlett said:
“In many ways, the public health crisis has shone a spotlight on issues faced by Scottish consumers up and down the country. Despite the vital work which has already been carried out, there are likely to be consumer issues which continue to emerge over the months and years ahead.
“The creation of the Consumer Network for Scotland, at this particularly challenging time, will help champion Scottish consumers and, working with the frontline service providers, provide people with the tools to confidently deal with their consumer rights.”
The Consumer Network for Scotland will initially be chaired by Scottish Government officials. The group itself will have control of how it operates going forward and how its membership will develop over time.
Consumer Scotland – a new body dedicated to protecting the interests of consumers – is expected to be operational next year.
The first Consumer Network for Scotland meeting included stakeholders from:
Advice Direct Scotland
Citizens Advice Scotland (CAS)
Competition and Markets Authority
Energy Action Scotland
Energy Saving Trust
Financial Conduct Authority
Trading Standards Scotland
Society of Chief Officers of Trading Standards in Scotland