Business Secretary Vince Cable has today (1 May 2014) confirmed that Citizens Advice is to receive an extra £7.5 million to help consumers who face problems with something they have bought or have been scammed by a rogue trader.
This will bring the total provided to Citizens Advice in the last year to £31 million.
This extra funding will enable the national charity to better provide advice to more than 17 million people online, over the phone and face to face.
This comes as Citizens Advice has today launched Scams Awareness Month. The aim is to raise the profile of steps consumers can take to avoid the four most common scams – online, doorstep, telephone and postal – and to encourage people to get in touch for advice if they think they, a friend or relative has been a victim.
Business Secretary Vince Cable said:
Citizens Advice should always be the first port of call when consumers have a problem and don’t know where to turn. With this extra money they can provide an even better service and make sure all consumers are getting a fair deal when buying something.
Commenting on the additional £7.5 million in funding for Citizens Advice, Chief Executive of Citizens Advice Gillian Guy said:
At some point in their lives everyone needs advice - anyone can be a Citizens Advice client. As a charity we are the bedrock of local support, and as communities expand to exist in the digital sphere people need to be able to find help there too.
This investment from BIS will reach 17 million people across England and Wales, as we enable our tireless staff and volunteers in Citizens Advice Bureaux across the country to provide advice online and over the phone. By helping people to help themselves and supporting those who seek advice over email or during a quick phone call in their lunch break, we reach more people in ways that are most convenient to them – allowing our advisers to give others the in-depth face-to-face guidance they need.
The Business Secretary’s speech also outlined the key changes that government has made to the competition regime and consumer landscape. These include:
- amendments to the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations – coming into force in October this year (2014) – that give consumers who have been bullied or misled into buying goods and services new rights to get their money back
- the creation of the new Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) – an independent authority responsible for promoting effective competition in markets across the UK economy, and with an objective to ensure that competition delivers benefits for consumers
- putting money back into consumers’ pockets by speeding up the process for people to switch to a cheaper energy tariff
- a new Consumer Rights Bill to set out a simple, modern framework of consumer rights
- the creation of the Groceries Code Adjudicator to ensure fairness in the relationships between the largest supermarkets and their direct suppliers
Notes to editors:
The Competition and Markets Authority came into existence on 1 April 2014, when it took over responsibility for the former competition responsibilities of the Office of Fair Trading and the Competition Commission.
The Consumer Rights Bill, currently in Parliament, is a fundamental reform of consumer legislation so that consumers’ and business’ key rights and responsibilities are clear, easily understood and updated to take account of purchases involving digital content. It contains important new protections for consumers alongside measures to lower regulatory burdens for business.
The government’s long-term plan is to build a strong, more competitive economy and a fairer society.
Industrial Strategy gives impetus to the plan for growth by providing businesses, investors and the public with clarity about the long-term direction in which the government wants the economy to travel.
The first achievements and future priorities of the industrial strategy have been published and can be found here https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/industrial-strategy-early-successes-and-future-priorities.