Super-watchdog moves closerGovernment's one-stop complaints shop

17 October 2006

The government has announced plans to amalgamate several consumer protection bodies into a single one-stop shop.

The new organisation, Consumer Voice, would unite the National Consumer Council with the energy advocacy body Energywatch, along with its postal equivalent, Postwatch.

Consumer Minister Ian McCartney says the move will boost consumer representation and provide people with a single point of contact for dealing with consumer issues.

Consumer Direct

The move will also see Consumer Direct, the government's consumer advice service, extended to cover consumers' enquiries or complaints about utility companies.

Ian McCartney said: ‘Today's announcement promises a stronger voice for consumers. We want to give people an effective system of representation and redress that is easily accessible and offers the best possible all round protection.

‘In the end this is about getting people a better deal for their money and protecting them from being ripped off.'

Which? welcomes move

The minister added that the government would bring a bill before Parliament as soon as possible to deliver the necessary changes.

The government consulted on the plans during the spring and Which? was involved in the consultation. Which? Head of Campaigns Louise Hanson said: ‘We broadly welcome the move and particularly the ability of consumers to access redress when things go wrong. We look forward to seeing the bill published .’