Consumer Advice

Oral Answers to Questions — Prices and Consumer Protection – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 8th March 1976.

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Photo of Mr Richard Luce Mr Richard Luce , Shoreham 12:00 am, 8th March 1976

asked the Secretary of State for Prices and Consumer Protection whether she is taking action to rationalise the consumer advice service to the consumer.

Mr. Alan Williams:

While the Government are providing support for new consumer advice centres and to the Citizens' Advice Bureaux movement, the organisation of local provision of consumer advice services is a matter for local authorities.

Photo of Mr Richard Luce Mr Richard Luce , Shoreham

In view of the need to contain public expenditure and to avoid the duplication of resources, does the Minister agree that it is better to concentrate on building up existing services, such as the citizens' advice bureaux, than to create too many consumer advice centres? What action is the hon. Gentleman taking to rationalise the services?

Mr. Alan Williams:

I do not agree with the hon. Gentleman's thesis, because the CABs, which provide a marvellous service to the public over a whole range of need, are able to devote only a relatively small proportion of their services to consumer advice work. The new scheme, which we have just brought forward, making £1·4 million available for new advice centres, will make extra advice and information available to about 10 million people and we regard this as valuable at a time when prices are increasing faster than any of us would wish.

Photo of Mr Hugh Dykes Mr Hugh Dykes , Harrow East

Will the hon. Gentleman consider the possibility of brief regular programmes on, say, BBC television giving Government advice and information on prices?

Mr. Alan Williams:

That goes beyond this proposition. The hon. Member for Gloucester (Mrs. Oppenheim) seems to object to any advertising on television which is to do with countering inflation.