Ruth Maguire MSP has welcomed legislation to establish a new consumer organisation which has been unanimously passed by the Scottish Parliament.

Consumer Scotland – a new body dedicated to protecting the interests of consumers – is expected to be operational next year.

It will focus on campaigning on issues that particularly affect people in Scotland and will conduct in-depth investigations to identify and address underlying causes of harm.

The Cunninghame South MSP successfully proposed amendments to the bill yesterday which made provisions for ‘inclusive communication’ – a move recommended by disability organisations such as Inclusion Scotland, Camphill Scotland and the Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists Scotland.

Speaking in the Scottish Parliament, Ms Maguire said: “Inclusive communication is communication that enables the largest number of people in the population to be included. For an organisation, that is about encouraging, supporting and enabling people to use whichever ways of expressing themselves they find easiest.

“Inclusive communication benefits everybody, because no one has ever complained that a public service was too easy to understand or made it too easy for them to get their point across.”

Consumer Scotland will work alongside existing consumer organisations and Trading Standards Scotland to represent the interests of Scottish consumers.

Business Minister Jamie Hepburn said:

“Consumer Scotland will be a champion for everyone across Scotland, dedicated to investigating consumer harm and developing solutions to tackle it.

“The majority of our experiences when buying goods and services are positive, but that’s not always the case. Sometimes there are persistent problems that have a big impact – such as delivery charges in rural Scotland or a lack of access to cash machines – that need to be addressed.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has had a huge impact on how we shop as well as the availability of goods and services, highlighting the importance of a powerful advocacy voice for consumers.

“In passing this Bill, the Scottish Parliament has helped ensure that a fairer Scotland means fairer outcomes for consumers.”

Ruth’s full contribution can be viewed below.