Press releases

TSI welcomes consumer empowerment strategy

Picture of Edward Davey and Ron GainsfordConsumer Minister Edward Davey announced, on Wednesday 13 April, a new approach that aims to give more power to consumers.

Empowered consumers drive and shape markets as the barriers to switching goods and services become smaller, resulting in businesses that have to innovate and become more efficient to gain market share, which in turn results in growth.

As part of the strategy, Government have identified FOUR key areas themes:

  • The power of information: enabling consumers to access data held on them by businesses, ensuring consumers are given richer, more relevant information about the goods or services they use.
  • The power of the crowd: supporting collective purchasing and protecting the integrity of on-line consumer feedback and comparison websites.
  • Support for vulnerable consumers: making changes to the redress system, protecting the most vulnerable and making sure the feedback loops are available to those who shop ‘in-store’
  • A new role for business and government: a shift in the style of regulation and consumer protection, working in partnership with business through the responsibility deal.

 Andy Foster, Operations Director for the Trading Standards Institute, said: 'TSI welcomes the strategy. It symbolises the shift in consumer behaviour we have seen change dramatically since the advent of digital technology and the huge growth of the e-commerce sector where the UK leads the way across Europe.

‘I am pleased to see the Minister recognise the important relationship between empowerment and enforcement. TSI believes the two elements go hand in hand and that a robust consumer protection regime relies on confident consumers that drive innovation, but also that there is an adequately resourced enforcement infrastructure to deal with rogues and unfair trading that distort markets and undermine consumer confidence.

‘We are particularly pleased to see the work of Professor Thaler being used to develop consumer policy in this way.  His work has been extensively used in the US and has helped deliver numerous societal goals that benefit both consumers and businesses alike. Whilst we realise that ‘nudges’ aren’t the panacea for all perils that lurk for consumers, making the ‘best’ choice the default option for consumers will still preserve freedom of choice, while protecting them from products and services that do not represent good value for money.  ‘Choice architecture’ has for so long often been the tool of the clever advertiser or salesman – it is now time to hand some of that power down to the consumer.’ 

The new approach is published in Better Choices, Better Deals: Consumers Powering Growth and was launched by the Department for Business Innovation and Skills earlier today. It is designed to support the Plan for Growth, a plan that recognised that competition lies at the centre of a dynamic economy, and aims to put information and influence into the hands of consumers and help secure a significant power. 

Picture: Consumer Minister Edward Davey MP, CEO for Citizens Advice Gillian Guy, CEO for Consumer Focus Mike O’Connor and Chief Executive for the Trading Standards Institute Ron Gainsford

Notes for Editors:

For further information or to arrange an interview please contact Lizi Piggins at TSI press office on 08456089430 or pressoffice@tsi.org.uk

Trading Standards Institute (TSI)
TSI is a training and membership organisation that has represented the interests of the Trading Standards profession since 1881 nationally and internationally.  We aim to raise the profile of the profession while working towards fairer, better informed and safer consumer and business communities.
TSI’s members are engaged in delivering frontline trading standards services in local authorities and in businesses.  We are also supporting the delivery of initiatives such as the advice services Consumer Direct, UK ECC and UK ECCS.
www.tradingstandards.gov.uk