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Economy, Energy and Fair Work Committee backs creation of Consumer Scotland

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Economy, Energy and Fair Work Committee backs creation of Consumer Scotland

MSPs have backed plans to create a new statutory body with responsibility for strengthening consumer advocacy and advice.

The Economy, Energy and Fair Work Committee approved the general principles of the Consumer Scotland Bill, which would establish Consumer Scotland as a new organisation accountable to the Scottish Parliament.

The body would aim to identify how and why consumers experience harm in Scotland and then propose solutions.

But with witnesses expressing concern that much of the work proposed for the new body is already being done by other organisations, MSPs called for more detail about the form and functions of the new body to avoid duplication of work.

Committee convener Gordon Lindhurst said: “The majority of evidence that the committee received showed support for the creation of a new consumer body which would in turn raise the profile of issues that directly relate to consumers.

“However, the Scottish Government must ensure that this new body operates in a way that strengthens and doesn’t impede the current work of existing bodies. We saw concern from bodies such as Citizens Advice Scotland that their role could be weakened.

“It was noted in our evidence sessions that a risk of overlap between the work of Consumer Scotland and other Scottish bodies, such as trading standards, could develop and therefore the committee would welcome a statement from the minister setting out how this would be avoided.”

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