HC Deb 10 December 1973 vol 866 cc11-2
6. Mrs. Sally Oppenheim

asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what was the outcome of the meeting held on Friday 23rd November between the Minister for Trade and Consumer Affairs and representatives of the local authorities to consider the discussion document on consumer advice centres.

The Minister for Trade and Consumer Affairs (Sir Geoffrey Howe)

Those present generally welcomed my proposals for co-ordinating the network of advice centres and for developing and promoting its corporate identity.

Mrs. Oppenheim

Does my right hon. and learned Friend accept that consumers throughout the country will widely welcome the initiative that he is taking with regard to a national network of consumer advice centres and, equally, the considerable sums of money which the Government are setting apart for this purpose? Was my right hon. and learned Friend really satisfied that the local authority representatives meant to implement the scheme? Was that the case, for example, with regard to the Gloucestershire local authority?

Sir G. Howe

I am grateful to my hon. Friend for her remarks about the general value of this initiative. My impression, which was clearly formed as a result of that meeting, was that the overwhelming majority of local authorities present attached considerable importance to the expansion of this service and were themselves keen to participate in it, consistent with the resources that they have available.

Mr. Kaufman

What advice would a consumer advice centre give to a constituent of mine who bought a washing machine from Crown Point Electrics of Hyde, found that it did not work, sent it back for repair, had it returned, and found that it still did not work and did not even have a lid, bearing in mind that she has not had a single word from Crown Point Electrics about the washing machine?

Sir G. Howe

I confess that it is hardly part of my function, in relation to a Question about advice centres, to answer every query of the hon. Gentleman's about every washing machine in his constituency. The servicing of electrical appliances is one matter to which the Director General of Fair Trading will be directing his attention.

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