A NEW public body is to be set up to uphold consumer rights in Scotland–but a Holyrood committee has cautioned that its research should not be sliced into current organizations ‘ positions.
Consumer Scotland would aim at reducing the harm to consumers in Scotland, increasing their confidence in dealing with businesses providing goods and services, and increasing the extent to which consumer issues are taken into account by public bodies in Scotland.
The new body would be accountable to the Scottish Parliament and must use its authority in a collective manner, taking into account the interests of disadvantaged consumers in particular.
It would also have the ability to request knowledge from certain bodies.
Holyrood’s Economy, Energy and Fair Employment Committee endorsed the Consumer Scotland Bill’s general principles that would set up a new agency that would improve consumer protection and guidance by defining how and why they are affected. To minimize this impact, it would also propose solutions.
The committee heard evidence that raised concerns that other agencies could already do much of the planned work for Consumer Scotland, and more information on the new body’s structure and roles were needed to ensure that there was no duplication of research.
The National: Tory MSP and Economy, Chairman of the Employment and Fair Work Committee, Gordon Lindhurst Committee Convener, Gordon Lindhurst, said: “Most of the evidence obtained from the committee showed support for the creation of a new consumer body which, in effect, would raise the profile of issues directly relevant to consumers.
“But, the Scottish Government should make sure that this new structure operates in a way that strengthens the present job of established bodies and does not hinder them.
“We saw that bodies like Citizens Advice Scotland were worried that their position might be diminished. “If Consumer Scotland is to succeed in improving the lives of millions of people, the required legislation must be quickly put in place to give this new body the power to address these and other key problem areas effectively.”