By Max Clarke
The confusing and overlapping array of consumer protection advice and regulation is set for an overhaul to better protect UK consumers.
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.
“This government believes in giving more power to people,” said Consumer Minister, Edward Davey. “Our consumer policy is all about empowering consumers to make the right decisions for themselves when they buy goods and services.”
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.
Continued Davey: “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. “
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