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National Consumer Council

Volume 174: debated on Thursday 14 June 1990

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To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how much is paid from public funds to the National Consumer Council; for what purpose those funds are paid; and who are the members of the council.

[holding answer 12 June 1990]: For the financial year 1990–91 the total grant-in-aid to the National Consumer Council will be £2·178 million. This amount includes the grants-in-aid to the Scottish Consumer Council, Welsh Consumer Council and Consumers in the European Community Group which are paid via the National Consumer Council.The grant is paid to the National Consumer Council to enable it to carry out the functions described in its memorandum of association, that is to promote action for furthering and safeguarding the interests of consumers, to ensure that those who take decisions which will affect the consumer can have a balanced and authoritative view of the interests of consumers before them and to insist that the interests of all consumers, including the inarticulate and disadvantaged, are taken into account.

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what steps are taken by his Department to ensure that the National Consumer Council reflects the views of consumers.

[holding answer 12 June 1990]: On many subjects there may be no one consumer view. However, I am satisfied that in so far as it is possible to do so, the National Consumer Council reflects the views of consumers.

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what steps are taken by his Department to check claims made by the National Consumer Council before those claims are made public knowledge.

[holding answer 12 June 1990]: The Department does not check the claims made by the National Consumer Council (NCC) before they are made public knowledge, nor does it believe that it would be appropriate for it to do so.

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he has any plans to increase the accountability of the National Consumer Council to consumers.

[holding answer 12 June 1990]: No. I am satisfied that the National Consumer Council adequately takes account of the views of consumers.

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will make it his policy to phase out the funding of the National Consumer Council; and if he will make a statement.