Magazine article Marketing

Lib Dems Fight for Consumers

Magazine article Marketing

Lib Dems Fight for Consumers

Article excerpt

An independent Department of Consumer Protection headed by its own Cabinet Minister is understood to be among a battery of new measures to protect the consumer being proposed by the Liberal Democrats.

Plans also include giving the Advertising Standards Authority statutory backing and the power to fine companies.

The Liberal Democrats are presenting their ideas in a working party document "Putting Consumers First", to be published later this month and submitted for approval at the party's Torbay annual conference on September 19 to 23, Marketing can reveal.

In contrast with other parties who believe public interest in eco-labelling and similar issues has faded, the Liberal Democrats are putting out their consumer debate on the first day of their conference.

Currently neck-and-neck with the Conservatives in the opinion polls, they will be listened to with particular care this year.

The working group, which includes members of parliament and academics, says the balance should now be tilted towards consumers after favouring producers.

The new department would take on the functions and responsibilities of the present Office of Public Services (Citizen's Charter) and it would have an oversight responsibility for the utility regulations, thereby "providing a strong voice for the consumer at the heart of Government".

The Liberal Democrats would also transfer responsibility for food quality and safety from the Minister of Agriculture, Food and Fisheries to a new Food Commission, and the safety of medicines (including veterinary medicines) from the Department of Health to a new Drugs Commission. …

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