News item

Young consumers meet Tory leader at party conference

A team of clued-up teenagers met David Cameron after going head to head with an MP during a quiz at the Conservative Party Conference.

Youngsters from Swanshurst School, in Billesley, Birmingham, took part in a consumer quiz against a team featuring an MP and other professionals at the conference in Birmingham on Sunday (28 September).

Swanshurst School was a regional finalist in the Trading Standards Institute's (TSI) Young Consumers of the Year 2008 competition.

The team was selected to take part in the party conference quiz event, which was part of a 'fringe' session on 'Young People and Money Management', organised by Citizens Advice and Experian, the credit reference agency, one of the sponsors of Young Consumers of the Year.

Nazmeen Hussain, aged 16, Moneeba Abid, aged 18, and Tapiwa Nyachowe, aged 17, comfortably beat the team of experts which featured David Gauke MP, Shadow Minister for the Treasury, Andrew Henderson, from the Royal Bank of Scotland, and Sheila Fulford, of the Personal Finance Education Group (PFEG).

Following their quiz victory, the teenagers had their photo taken with David Cameron, the Conservative party leader.

Teacher Lesley Rigelsford said: 'The pupils had a wonderful day and were thrilled to meet David Cameron. Our team beat the professionals by nine points, which is a wonderful achievement.

'I think everyone was impressed with the knowledge our pupils displayed during the quiz.

'The Young Consumers of the Year competition is a great educational tool and our pupils have gained knowledge and awareness from it which will stay with them for life.'

Two other schools who took part in Young Consumers of the Year 2008 were also selected to participate in 'fringe' sessions at other party conferences.

The national winners of the 2008 competition, Simon Langton Grammar School for Boys in Canterbury, Kent, took part in a quiz at the Liberal Democrat Conference in Bournemouth on 14 September. Youngsters from St Joseph's College, in Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire, went head to head with a team of experts at the Labour Conference in Manchester on 21 September.

Ron Gainsford, chief executive of TSI, said: 'I am sure the MPs and others who attended these sessions were amazed and impressed at just how much these young people know about their rights and responsibilities when it comes to looking after their money.

'The TSI Young Consumers of the Year competition highlights to students all over the country the importance of being well informed about consumer issues, giving them knowledge and awareness that will stand them in good stead for life.

'Attending the party political conferences was a wonderful experience for these teenagers, and hopefully it highlighted to political leaders the need to educate and protect young people at a time when managing money becomes ever more complex and fraught with potential pitfalls.'

Notes to Editors

The Young Consumers of the Year competition, which is organised by TSI, involves hundreds of schools from across England, Scotland and Wales. It is designed to educate young people to be aware of their responsibilities as well as their rights, giving them the skills to help make informed decisions when purchasing items on a day-to day basis, as well as helping prepare for life after school.

The competition's sponsors include the Office of Fair Trading, Food Standards Agency, Experian, Argos, Financial Services Authority, British Toy and Hobby Association, Consumer Education Liaison Group and the College of Fellows.

Trading Standards Institute

The Trading Standards Institute has represented the interests of Trading Standards professionals for 120 years. We have a long and proud history of ensuring that the views of our members are well represented at the highest level of government, both nationally and internationally.

Our aim is to promote excellence and enhance the professionalism of our members in support of empowering and informing consumers, encouraging and working with honest businesses, targeting rogue traders and rogue trading practices and contributing to the health, welfare and wellbeing of citizens and communities.

TSI members are engaged in delivering frontline trading standards services in local authorities in response to 2 million consumer and business complaints and enquiries each year. They also support the delivery of new initiatives such as Consumer Direct, providing first point of contact practical consumer advice.

They also work in the business, consumer and central government sectors in promoting and influencing the safety, prosperity and enhancement of individuals and markets with a dependency on effective and professional trading standards contributions and interventions.