Citizens Advice Consumer Annual Report 2019-20
James Plunkett, Executive Director of Advice and Advocacy:
Given the events of recent months, last year feels like a long time ago. But as we all adapt to the implications of COVID-19, it is still essential to reflect on the successes and lessons of the past.
Once again I am impressed with the breadth and depth of change Citizens Advice has achieved for consumers across markets. 2019-20 marked our fifth year as the statutory advocate for consumers of energy and postal services. Our work translated into substantial change for consumers.
Following our super-complaint, regulators have identified a £3.9bn annual cost of the loyalty penalty. Measures that will deliver a £318mn saving have been introduced, but there is much more to do
Work in energy has centred on the need to deliver protections fit for the radically different net zero world we must move towards, with the recognition that heat networks should be regulated being a major early victory
Significant progress has been made in the postal market ensuring this vital service meets the needs of all those that need it, including 6 of the biggest parcel companies making changes to meet accessibility needs for disabled people
A world shaped by pandemic and recession will be hard for consumers. Already many challenges are emerging. Significant debts have accumulated and many people will struggle to pay these down. Questions of fair access to the digital economy will persist and could be accentuated as the shift to online work, shopping, and leisure accelerates.
There is also rightly renewed pressure for organisations to address systemic inequalities. This extends to our work fighting for consumers and we will seek to embed the interests of equity, diversity and inclusion ever more deeply into the work we do.