HL Deb 22 December 1982 vol 437 cc1176-8WA
Baroness Burton of Coventry

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What decisions have been made following their review of the nationalised industry consumer councils.

Lord Cockfield

After full consultations with all concerned we are today publishing a departmental paper outlining a strategy for reform of the nationalised industry consumer councils. A copy has been placed in the Library of the House.

The Government are working in a number of ways to improve the performance of the nationalised industries and their responsiveness to consumer needs. The NICCs play an important role here by monitoring the quality and value-for-money of the services the industries provide. I believe that they are needed as much as ever to speak up for the ordinary customer.

We have therefore decided to retain the essentials of the present NICC structure, based on independent councils for each industry manned primarily by volunteers. Our priorities are to give the councils a clearer lead on how to tackle their job, and to strengthen their relationship with the industries and with Government. To this end, practical guidelines for NICC operations will be prepared on the basis of proposals from the councils themselves and in consultation with the industries. This and other action to be set in hand now will be reinforced by legislation, when parliamentary time permits, to put the NICCs on a more up-to-date and more uniform statutory footing.