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Independent body launched to protect rights of consumers

Consumer Scotland has been launched to protect the rights of shoppers (Philip Toscano/PA)
Consumer Scotland has been launched to protect the rights of shoppers (Philip Toscano/PA)

A “vital” independent body has been launched in Scotland to protect the rights of consumers.

Consumer Scotland, set up under the Consumer (Scotland) Act 2020, is independent of Government and is accountable to the Scottish Parliament.

The expert team will use data and analysis to prepare reports on key issues facing consumers, and offer solutions on how to tackle them.

David Wilson, chair of the statutory body, said its creation is particularly important given the serious challenges facing consumers with the cost-of-living crisis.

It will engage with businesses and consumer, regulatory and enforcement bodies and the public sector to put consumer rights at the heart of services and policy development.

Mr Wilson said: “The current economic climate has led to significant challenges for consumers and the time is right for Scotland to have a statutory organisation with the interests of consumers at its heart.

“The rights of consumers are protected by many organisations across the UK and we will work collaboratively alongside these organisations as we analyse the key issues affecting consumers and make recommendations to ensure they get a better deal.

“I’m grateful to the many people who have played a role in conceiving and creating the organisation, including the Scottish Government and Citizens Advice Scotland.”

The body’s remit also includes consumers in vulnerable circumstances and putting shoppers at the heart of the transition to net-zero.

An energy bill money
Consumer Scotland’s initial focus will be on the key sectors of energy, water and postal services (PA)

Its initial focus will be on the key sectors of energy, water and postal services, and the impact of the cost-of-living crisis.

Sam Ghibaldan, chief executive, said: “This is a vital role at a time when consumers are facing huge challenges of the cost-of-living crisis and the transition to net-zero.

“Consumers are increasingly asking for change and our job is to make sure they’re heard.

“Consumer Scotland will use evidence to influence change across the public and private sectors, improving consumers’ lives, and benefiting the economy.”

Consumer Scotland also has the power to conduct statutory investigations into the most serious issues of consumer harm in Scotland.