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Citizens Advice response to BIS Consultation announcement

21 June 2011

Citizens Advice Chief Executive Gillian Guy said:

“We already help people address hundreds of thousands¹ of consumer related problems each year via our network of trusted bureaux, provide consumer education programmes² and campaign for changes to empower and protect consumers.³ Our evidence base is second to none and comes from helping over 2 million people a year find practical solutions to their problems.

“So, subject to receiving sufficient resources, we would be delighted, and are ready and prepared to expand on this work as set out by Edward Davey today.

“Our priority is to ensure that any changes result in the most effective service for consumers. We recognise the importance of learning from the successes of the present arrangements and of working closely with Consumer Focus to ensure a smooth transition and look forward to working closely with Trading Standards.”

Notes to editor

1. Last year (April 2010 – March 2011) bureaux helped people address more than 130,000 problems with consumer goods and services, over 130,000 problems with financial products and over 100,000 problems with utilities and post.

2. Our financial education programme reached over 250,000 low income consumers in communities last year, covering issues such as finding a better deal for energy or choosing a safe and appropriate savings scheme for Christmas.

3. Thanks to our advocacy work, 6.5m people a year get better deal on payment protection insurance; 750,000 energy customers who use prepayment meters better off; 2.4 million people in 600 communities get free to use cash machines; and 50 DWP phone lines free of charge to mobile phone users.