Scotland's economy depends on its consumers. We want to give them more confidence by protecting their interests and preventing anti-competitive behaviour.

This encompasses a wide variety of work, from supporting those with consumer or debt issues, to ensuring consumers are meaningfully considered in our energy strategy.

Actions

We are protecting consumers and competition by:

Background

In our consumer and competition policies we aim to champion and empower consumers, especially those who are most vulnerable, and to encourage businesses to understand the competitive advantages of treating customers fairly.

These goals support a wider objective across the whole of government and the public sector, to harness the capacity of consumers to increase inclusive growth and reduce inequality. 

By raising the profile of consumers and placing them at the heart of Scottish policymaking, this transformational programme will fundamentally change the way consumer issues are viewed and tackled.

New powers

The Scotland Act (2016) transferred new powers relating to competition and consumer advocacy and advice to the Scottish Parliament. In March 2015 we set up an independent Working Group on Consumer and Competition Policy to decide how to best use these new powers.

The group published a report on consumer and competition policy in November 2015, recommending that Scotland set up a new statutory body to champion Scottish consumers. Our response to the consumer and competition policy report, published in March 2016, details how we will act on these recommendations and develop a consumer and competition strategy for Scotland.

In June 2016 we identified markets where Scottish consumers may not be getting a fair deal and produced the report Ensuring that markets work well for businesses and consumers: a strategic assessment of markets in Scotland.

Action for energy consumers

In the Scottish energy strategy, published in December 2017, we made commitments to:

  • promote consumer engagement
  • protect consumers from excessive or avoidable costs
  • prevent new forms of social exclusion and promote the benefits of smarter domestic energy applications and systems

We are developing a vision and action plan to ensure our transition to a low-carbon economy is shaped by and for the people of Scotland.

We will publish an annual energy statement that will report on the progress we have made towards targets outlined in the strategy, including those relating to consumer outcomes.

Bills and legislation

The Scotland Act (2016) transferred new consumer and competition powers to the Scottish Parliament, including:

  • competence for consumer advocacy and advice
  • the right of Scottish Ministers to act with the UK Secretary of State to refer a market for investigation by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) where they have reasonable grounds for suspecting that competition within that market is being prevented, restricted or distorted
  • devolution of the Competition Appeal Tribunals to the Scottish Court and Tribunal Service

Nuisance Calls Action Plan

In September 2017 Scotland’s Response to Nuisance Calls Commission – Action Plan was published.

Contact

Email: consumerandcompetition@gov.scot

Telephone: 0300 244 4000

Post:
Scottish Government
Consumer and Competition Policy Unit
4th Floor
5 Atlantic Quay
150 Broomielaw
Glasgow
G2 8LU