HC Deb 04 July 1977 vol 934 cc435-8W
Mr. Park

asked the Secretary of State for Prices and Consumer Protection what is the Government's current policy towards consumer advice centres, in the light of decisions at local government level to discontinue this service.

Mr. Hattersley

The Government continue to believe that the consumer should receive accessible and authoritative advice, and that consumer advice centres are an invaluable way of providing such help. Like the National Association of Citizens Advice Bureaux, the National Consumer Council, the Consumers' Association, and the National Federation of Consumer Groups I very much regret the fact that, despite my Department's 100 per cent. grant this financial year towards the running costs of all centres in Great Britain, some local authorities may decide to deprive their communities of this important service.

Mr. Ward

asked the Secretary of State for Prices and Consumer Protection if he will name the consumer advice centres in Great Britain being funded by his Department in 1977–78; what percentage of their total running costs is being met by his Department; and what is the total population now covered.

Mr. Hattersley

My Department will be funding 100 per cent. of the total eligible costs of 120 CACs in the financial year 1977–78 serving an estimated 25 million people in Great Britain. My Department will consider grant aiding the running costs of centres opening after 31st March 1977, and will cease to provide grant aid in respect of any centre which closes during the financial year. The 120 centres accepted for grant aid are:


  • Grampian Regional Council—Aberdeen
  • Lothian Regional Council—Edinburgh, Edinburgh (m)
  • Shetland Islands Council—Lerwick
  • Strathclyde Regional Council—Glasgow, Glasgow (m), Hamilton, Strathclyde North (m), Strathclyde South (m), Paisley, Irvine.


  • Clwyd County Council—Wrexham, Clwyd (m)
  • Mid-Glamorgan County Council- Pontypridd, Aberdare, Mid-Glamorgan (m)
  • West Glamorgan County Council- -Swansea


  • Tyne and Wear County Council—Newcastle Upon Tyne, Jarrow, Gateshead, Wallsend, Sunderland, Tyne and Wear North (m), Tyne and Wear South (m)
  • Cleveland County Council— Hartlepool, Stock-ton-on-Tees, Middlesborough


  • Merseyside County Council—Bootle, Liverpool, Southport, Wallasey, St. Helens, Merseyside (m), Birkenhead
  • Cheshire County Council—Chester
  • Greater Manchester Council—Manchester, Bol-ton, Leigh, Urmston, Ashton-under-Lyne, Oldham, Wythenshawe, Bury, Swinton, Rochdale, Wigan


  • South Yorkshire County Council—Barnsley, Doncaster, Rotherham, Sheffield
  • Humberside County Council Kingston upon Hull, Grimsby
  • West Yorkshire County Council—Wakefield, Bradford, Huddersfield, Halifax, Leeds, West Yorkshire (two mobiles)


  • West Midlands County Council—Wolverhamp-ton, Dudley, West Bromwich, Birmingham, Erdington, Northfield, Walsall, Coventry, Solihull (m)
  • Hereford and Worcester County Council— Hereford East (m), Hereford West (m)
  • Salop County Council—Telford


  • Nottinghamshire County Council—Nottingham, Newark, Nottinghamshire (m), Worksop, Mansfield
  • Leicestershire County Council—Leicester
  • Derbyshire County Council—Swadlincote, Derbyshire North (m), Derbyshire North East (m), Derbyshire South (m), Long Eaton, Ripley, Ilkeston, Derby, Chesterfield, Buxton


  • Norwich City Council—Norwich Cambridgeshire County Council—Huntingdon, Cambridge, Peterborough


  • Buckinghamshire County Council—High Wycombe
  • Watford Borough Council—Watford
  • Thurrock Borough Council—Grays
  • Bedfordshire County Council—Bedford. Bedfordshire (m)
  • Luton Borough Council—Luton
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  • Thanet District Council—Thanet (m)
  • Stevenage Borough Council—Stevenage
  • Milton Keynes Development Corporation— Bletchley
  • Dacorum District Council—Hemel Hempstead


  • Southwark Borough Council—Walworth
  • Hillingdon Borough Council—Uxbridge
  • Islington Borough Council—Seven Sisters
  • Havering Borough Council—Romford
  • Enfield Borough Council—Enfield
  • Lambeth Borough Council—Streatham, Brixton, Lambeth Walk, Lambeth (m)
  • Wandsworth Borough Council—Tooting, Wandsworth
  • Greenwich Borough Council—Woolwich
  • Haringey Borough Council—Wood Green
  • Camden Borough Council—Kentish Town, Kilburn
  • Croydon Borough Council—Whitgift Centre
  • Merton Borough Council—Morden


  • Devon County Council—Plymouth
  • Wiltshire County Council—Swindon
  • (m) denotes mobile advice centre.

Mr. George

asked the Secretary of State for Prices and Consumer Protection if he will make a statement on the decision of the West Midlands County Council to close its consumer advice centres.

Mr. Hattersley

I very much regret the reports I have heard. My Department was prepared to grant aid all the eligible running costs of all the nine West Midland County Council consumer advice centres throughout the present financial year. It seems that the council's decision not to take full advantage of this scheme can only leave the West Midlands consumer and ratepayer worse off.

Mr. Tierney

asked the Secretary of State for Prices and Consumer Protection (1) what grants have been made to set up and to maintain each of the nine consumed advice centres in the West Midlands;

(2) what is the total amount paid per annum in direct grants to maintain consumer advice shops in the West Midlands.

Mr. Hattersely

In addition to the rate support grant support provided by central Government, the West Midlands Council, in the period March 1976 to March 1977 inclusive, received specific grants totalling £87,520 to meet 100 per cent. of the accepted costs of setting up and maintaining two of its nine consumer advice centres. The council has been in- formed that my Department is prepared to pay by grant aid 100 per cent. of the accepted costs of maintaining all nine consumer advice centres for the year beginning 1st April 1977. These payments are expected to total £432,000 over the full year. Any reduction in the West Midlands consumer advice centre service during the year up to 31st March 1978 will result in a corresponding reduction in the grant paid to the West Midlands Council.

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