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Scots share their regional consumer concerns – what are yours?

UK conusmers

Our latest research reveals some of the experiences Scottish people have in public and private markets. It’s clear consumer issues can be region specific – what problems do you come up against in your area?

We already know that for places such as London and the South-East there are particular struggles with rail-related problems – Southern rail being a particular headache for commuters at the moment. Earlier this year, we heard from guest author and Which? Conversation community member, Duncan, who highlighted the problem of access to public pay phones and telecoms issues in the UK’s more rural spots.

In our latest research, our Scottish Consumer Insights Report, we’ve found that many Scots are having problems in key industries, and need guidance, protection and representation in key areas.

Scottish consumers

When we compared Scottish levels of consumer worry to the rest of the UK, it seemed that Scottish consumers had greater levels of concern in general. The top concern for Scots was about public spending cuts (74%), with worries about daily essentials such as food, energy and fuel also higher up than the rest of the UK.

Interestingly, when we looked across banking, energy and telecoms, we found that Scots tend to stick with their providers rather than switch. Just a quarter (23%) have switched their energy supplier in the past five years, only 18% their current account, and 33% their home internet connection.

And yet, energy companies were rated as one of the least trusted industries, along with the financial sector. The water industry was most trusted sector in Scotland, with car dealers the most mistrusted.

Now, according to our research, many Scots aren’t acting on problems they encounter in many markets. For example, although 44% had issues with their home internet connection in the past two years, 46% complained at the time and a worrying 39% took no action as a result. And the most common reason (31%) for this was feeling it wasn’t worth the effort to complain.

When it came to public services, we found that many people didn’t see themselves as consumers in these areas, but they should. For those who’d experienced problems in public services (such as GPs, or dentists), only 18% complained at the time, while 39% didn’t take action at all. Interestingly, 40% of people who took no action felt nothing would be done if they did.

Tackling Scotland’s problems

Recently, the Scottish Government published a long-awaited plan outlining how it will use its new consumer powers to help these consumers out. It puts some very useful commitments and deadlines on paper to give stakeholders and consumers a little more certainty about how they will be helped in future.

The Scottish Government agrees that more can be done to improve coordination in consumer landscape for Scottish people, whether it’s at Scottish level or at UK level. It also believes that the consumer landscape would be better served by more coordination to the various advice services available to Scottish people and a better understanding of how markets work in Scotland. We agree with the approach.

What about you?

Can you relate to any of our Scottish research findings?

Or do you have any particular consumer gripes that are local to you? Maybe you find transport in your area particularly problematic, or your telecoms services aren’t up to scratch – let us know what bothers you.


The Scottish government rightly wants to bolster the Scottish economy and rebuild its originally world-beating heavy industry. Transport Scotland records on its website that the Forth Replacement Crossing (FRC) project is providing up to 1,200 job opportunities and a large number of sub-contract and supply order opportunities for Scottish companies. It says that 42,000 tonnes of steel are required for the new road bridge over the Firth of Forth but does not mention that this steel is being manufactured in China. Such a wasted opportunity.


Closing our steel industries is just so short-sighted and such a waste at a time when our country needs industry and to stand on its own feet.

People need jobs, the country needs steel, what is wrong with our government that they can’t see it and make it work?

Would they rather pay benefits to the unemployed for what could be many years rather than put money into keeping industries going?

Mr P. Black says:
7 January 2017

The Tory Government has everything to do with Scotland,s repression past tense, that has slowed down
Scotland,s slow progression to pull it,s self out of the mire caused by cuts in all walks of life every thing is based on planet London,s economy. Our steel plants were torn down our mines were closed by a thatcher government, all the car plants are down south, only Scotland has no car build industry at all, we did have but that was ripped from us by the tories of the past not much has changed. The steel down south has been
protected with tax payers money not Just English tax payer,s but U.K. tax payers money, wages are better in
industrial area,s for example, car plant,s which are all in England & Wales for that matter. We also have a
Government who come,s down over heavy on the unemployed and treat them very badly indeed granted some are bone idle, and take life as it is, others are looking for work but people are many & Job,s are few, only
the lucky ones are picked it is a vicious circle. Then there are the long term unemployed they are treated very badly, they are stuck in job type club scenario,s they know there is not a hope in hell of a decent job most are Tradesmen and sum have useful skill,s but there are no job,s for them and they know it and so does this could,nt give a toss Tory Government and the sanction lover,s this lot are the worst of all they are the civil
servants “employed” by all Governments, but at present we have the worst in power as far as the common
Women & Men are concerned that is . This Government even reshuffled its self, after there leader walked out and his chancellor, another no hoper, as it turns out but still the same lot, (some say an election would be the right thing to do) Suppose that,ll have to do for now now we have Brexit means Brexit, well I,ll leave that to the expert,s that is if there are any , mean while we are bundling £ 350,000,000,000,000 of U.K. tax payers
money to E.U. Brussel,s every day, week, who cares because this Tory Government does,nt give a Jot either or they would get trigger out of the stable and ride off into the E.U. lands s shouting Brexit means Brexit also
to find out that it really mean,s , you,ve got it Britian mean Exit, and back to the unemployed well one good reason for the lack of jobs is the E.U. BILLIONS see there is jobs that brits should have. And finally the Tory
scare mongering tactic signal to the Bank of England to devalue the ( £ ) that will do it a**e up the whole U.K. So who to blame for all this, some would say the government some the E.U. , Some the invader,s
Why don,t the unemployed take over the Jobcentre,s the Government has reduced staff in there cut backs
and when the Tories are surplus to requirements they could go to Job club.s to learn a new skill humility
and common sense, whats that I hear you cry, A general election , well that,s the best thing I,ve thought of
while typing this drivel I suppose its the same we hear echoing now and then Bexit mean, Exit for the U. K.
from this money trough, come on Tories learn what to do or get out and let a party that knows what to do
if there is one that is.

Alan Campbell Stewart says:
13 January 2017

Unfortunately, members of the SNP Scottish Government have little appreciation of industry and commerce. It does not appear to be particularly keen to engage with management from these sectors. To be
political, this government is only interested in independence.


Small business bonus scheme is one opportunity for Scottish small businesses Alan -see : http://www.gov.scot/Topics/Business-Industry but I do agree with you on the business community interaction with Holyrood or should I say lack of it . They are more concerned with the social side rather than working with and helping business in general .

Harper Duns says:
20 January 2017

John, not a wasted opportunity since Scotland’s steel industry making the type of steel needed has been closed down by successive Labour and Tory government’s years ago. Scotland can make only rolled steel and this was sourced from Scotland for the bridge. Even these steel plants were at risk but thankfully saved by intervention by John Swinney who negotiated a deal with Tata steel.

The new bridge, looking very beautiful indeed, will be completed on time and on budget in May 2017. Given how many problems have arisen with the old road bridge, it’s a blessing the SNP insisted on the new bridge. A proud day for Scotland when it opens.

Harper Duns says:
21 January 2017

Not really true, Alan. The SNP are charged with governing Scotland and making Scotland the best it can be for every one who lives here. Independence will always be an aim but, to be fair, it’s talked about more by people outside the SNP than those in it. John Swinney, before he moved over to his new job, and now Keith Brown, and Paul Wheelhouse, deliver twin aspects of this role. They bring new jobs to Scotland, train workers to deliver the jobs needed now and in the future, and always work to prevent job losses. In this way, unemployment in Scotland has been the same as that of the U.K., or even lower, over the past year, despite Scotland not being to offer “secret” deals to businesses such as the one given to the car manufacturing plant in England to prevent it moving to Europe after Brexit.