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.
We are protecting consumers and competition by:
- working with our partners to strengthen consumer support
- setting up a new Consumer Scotland organisation to represent the interests of consumers– the Bill to allow this to progress was passed by the Scottish Parliament on 6 May 2020.
- establishing a Consumer Data Working Group so Consumer Scotland has access to a more integrated consumer intelligence system
- ensuring Scotland has competitive and fair markets
- working to ensure that parcel delivery charges are made fairer for rural and island communities
- undertaking actions identified at the Nuisance Calls Summit, including the creation of a Nuisance Calls Commission to discuss topics raised at the Summit
- working with our partners to develop a Scams Prevention Strategy for Scotland, including the creation of a Scams Prevention Strategy Partnership and Advisory Group
- establishing a Consumers and Markets Taskforce to advise Ministers on priorities and actions relating to consumer and market issues in Scotland
- working on the actions in our collaborative economy report response, including the ShareLab Scotland fund to support early-stage collaborative digital platforms
- developing a vision and action plan for energy consumers, a commitment outlined in the Scottish energy strategy
- undertaking work to deliver on the Commitment 4 of Scotland’s National Open Government Action Plan 2018-2020 - to improve access to accountability of public services - starting by commissioning a baseline review and analysis of the existing accountability landscape
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.
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.
Telephone: 0300 244 4000
Consumer and Competition Policy Unit
5 Atlantic Quay