Citizens Advice Consumer Annual Report 2020-21
James Plunkett, Executive Director of Advice and Advocacy:
The world has changed beyond recognition in the past year. And in these historically uncertain times, our role standing up for consumers has never been more vital.
2020/21 marked our sixth year as the statutory advocate for consumers. I’m immensely proud of how our work helped to protect consumers from the worst effects of the pandemic.
At a time when more people are struggling to pay household bills due to the pandemic, we’ve helped consumers save over £2 billion on their energy and water bills.
We helped to safeguard the post office network by successfully arguing for the government to continue providing a £50 million subsidy to the most rural post offices.
We welcomed new Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) rules to end the loyalty penalty, after our super-complaint in 2018. We’re now calling for firms and regulators to finish the job by taking action on the loyalty penalty in other essential markets.
Measures put in place during the pandemic by the government, regulators and industry have helped consumers. But for many, they have not been enough.
Our research and insights from our advice work tell us that, despite the support in place, the financial impacts of the pandemic have been significant and have fallen unequally, with Black and disabled people particularly hard-hit across markets.
As protections come to an end, along with the restrictions that have become a defining feature of our daily lives, many people will be dealing with a more uncertain future than they could have thought possible 15 months ago.
As we recover from the pandemic we’ll keep standing up for consumers, particularly those from marginalised groups and in vulnerable situations. Looking forward, we’ll focus on strengthening protections for people at risk of harm as markets change and innovate.