Delivering better outcomes for consumers and businesses in
Scotland - our principles
In taking forward our work on delivering better outcomes for
consumers and businesses in Scotland, we will embed the following
1. Consumer protection and competition policy will
support economic growth while upholding our values of a
fairer, more equal Scotland.
- Consumer trust is vital for businesses to thrive. A
flexible, responsive system of consumer protection will
ensure consumers can be confident they will be treated
fairly when buying goods and services.
- Open markets and empowered consumers will help
businesses thrive when they are innovative, efficient and
treat customers fairly, which will in turn support them to
remain competitive in Scotland, the
- At a
Scotland will have a stronger voice in consumer matters and
competition policy. We will build relationships with
regulators, enforcement agencies and industry to raise the
profile of Scottish concerns and develop solutions that
will benefit both consumers and businesses in
2. Collaboration and flexibility will be at the heart
of our approach.
- Finding the best solutions means identifying the root
of the problem. We will build on our relationships with
industry, regulators and consumer protection agencies to
develop more effective ways to identify patterns of harm
and their causes.
- Problems affecting consumers and markets vary and so do
the solutions. Regulatory, competition and market-driven
remedies all have a role to play in achieving better
outcomes for consumers and businesses. We will use the
right tools in the right circumstances.
- Solutions to consumer and competition issues affecting
Scotland should be driven by those who know the markets
best. We will bring organisations, including regulators,
consumer groups and businesses, together to deliver
concrete actions that will make a real difference to the
people of Scotland.
3. Consumers will be protected from harm, and
empowered to challenge organisations to take their needs into
- Scotland's consumers, particularly those whose
circumstances make them more vulnerable, need to know that
their interests are being protected. Consumers will have a
strong voice to speak up when things go wrong, and to
campaign against practices that could be harmful in the
future. At the same time, consumers and businesses should
be made aware when things are going well; good practice
will be highlighted and shared.
- Consumers will be supported to understand their rights
and resolve issues. Advice and information will be
available to all consumers when and how they require it, no
matter their circumstances.
- Consumers need to know that their voices will be
listened to. We will put the consumer interest at the heart
of our own work, and, in collaboration with regulators,
consumer bodies and industry, develop more effective ways
for consumers to actively engage in regulatory and policy
4. Protecting consumers will also protect and support
businesses, and encourage fair competition.
- Businesses that work to treat consumers fairly should
be protected from those that act unscrupulously. Ensuring
that consumers know their rights, and enabling regulators
and enforcement agencies to support good behaviour and more
quickly detect wrong-doing, will help prevent any unfair
advantages that may be derived by businesses that break the
- Businesses will benefit from a system of consumer
protection that seeks to put things right, rather than
simply punish wrong-doing. We will work to detect harm more
quickly, and where possible, work with businesses that have
made mistakes to help them improve.
- Businesses will have more opportunities for growth. We
will ensure markets are open and accessible to all
businesses, creating an environment where businesses have
the confidence to invest and innovate.
5. Scotland's competition policy should reflect its
specific needs and circumstances.
- We recognise the challenges and opportunities presented
by the Scottish economy. By monitoring the competitiveness
of markets and businesses in Scotland we can support
businesses to innovate and adapt to make the most of the
- Actions taken by government can have effects on
markets. Best practice in competition starts with us; we
will put in place procedures to ensure the market effects
of our policies are considered.
- Taking a collaborative approach to competition, within
the Scottish Government, will ensure we keep pace with
changing markets, technologies and business models.