/ Home & Energy

Announcing our consumer agenda for government

Whoever wins the keys to No. 10 needs to deliver positive change for UK consumers. Our consumer agenda for government sets out our priorities.

Ahead of December’s General Election, we today launched our consumer agenda for government.

It sets out the commitments that we want all political parties to make to deliver positive changes for people across the UK.

From buying products online from a global marketplace, switching energy provider on a smartphone, or making payments from a banking app, the digital revolution has delivered opportunities for wider choice, faster deliveries and enhanced personalisation.

Tackling the challenges

But it hasn’t all been good news. Fraudsters use advances in technology for sophisticated scams, unsafe products repeatedly make their way onto online marketplaces, and fake reviews take advantage of consumers’ trust in online reviews.

At the same time, the move to digital is leaving behind those who have poor mobile or broadband coverage and those who rely on cash. We also need to ensure that those who aren’t online can still get a fair deal with their day-to-day bills.

We know from research we did this summer that eight in 10 areas in the UK lack full 4G coverage from all four operators.

And our latest research – published today – has found more than 250 communities across the UK that have poor cashpoint provision or no cashpoints at all.

Parties need to commit to policies that tackle the challenges and risks posed by this transformed consumer landscape, whilst widening access to this new digital world, and not leaving behind those who aren’t ready or able to go fully online in all areas of life, such as banking and making payments.

What we want to see

We need the next government to set out an ambitious, joined-up strategy to deliver an improved digital infrastructure that guarantees a reliable online connection for everyone – whether they are at home, at work or on the move.

The next government must work with industry and regulators to guarantee access to cash for as long as it is needed. And we must ensure that those who bank online are fully protected from Authorised Push Payment (bank transfer) scams.

We have one of the strongest consumer rights frameworks in the world, but the enforcement systems that support it are broken.

That’s why we’re calling for a stronger Consumer and Competition Authority that can stand up and impose tough sanctions on businesses that are breaking the law, as well as an independent product safety regulator to tackle dangerous products.

There must also be greater responsibility on online platforms and marketplaces to prevent scams, fake reviews and the sale of unsafe products, and security needs to be built into the design of connected devices.

Working with Which?

The next government must also work with Which? to build a fair and transparent pensions system –  one that enables people to track their pensions, addresses the pensions gender gap, and helps ensure that retirement income products are value for money.

On the increasingly important topic of trade, our position is clear; future trade policy must be built on the foundation stones of world-leading consumer standards, consumer rights and enhanced choice.

Whilst a future national food strategy must maintain the UK’s high food standards. 

We’re really excited about our consumer agenda for government, because we believe that it embraces the best of the modern consumer world, but will also help everyone have a stake in it.

Read our full manifesto here.

 

Which area from our consumer agenda is your top concern?
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Comments
Pamela Crouch says:
15 November 2019

The injustice to 1950s women and their 6 year unexpected wait for their state pension and then the double whammy of being opted out if they worked in a bank or local government or the nhs that was introduced retrospectively

This is my top priority as it’s the government who caused this scam

adele Leffman says:
15 November 2019

I agree with Pamela as to the injustice of delayed pensions and opting out. Surely the government can make some cuts from its own spending – or has such a revolutionary idea never crossed its mind!!

Terry Trevett says:
15 November 2019

It’s time that all councils standardised their waste collection and recycling procedures. It should be the same throughout the UK in order to eliminate the current confusion.

I must agree with that, Terry. After moving from one area to another over a year ago I still have to think where to put the rubbish. General waste used to go in the green bin but now has to go in the black bin [although other houses in the road have a green bin for this]. Recyclable waste now goes in the blue bin instead of the black bin. And that’s before you have to work out what the different councils want in which bin. Now we can put glass bottles and jars in the blue bin as well as shredded paper which used to have to be put in the green bin. The only constant seems to be garden waste which always seems to go in a brown bin – but is now collected fortnightly on the same day as the blue bin but was previously collected on a different weekday. Previously I had to spend time on four days in alternate weeks putting out or taking in refuse bins. That has now been reduced to two days in alternate weeks. The grey food bin has to be put out every week on the same day as the general waste or recyclable waste, so it’s two bins every week and an extra one in alternate weeks. Out one day to ensure early morning emptying and back in the next. I sometimes think my life is governed by the bins.

I agree Terry. Councils use different colours of bins and allow different plastic items to be put in their bins. When visiting family I have to remember that glass must not be put in the recycling bin but taken to a bottle bank. If the contents of recycling bins is considered ‘contaminated’ with incorrect waste it is likely to end up as landfill. We require standards that can be updated when necessary across the country.

John – If you put the shredded paper in an old paper carrier that avoids the risk of your shredded secrets being widely distributed if the bins are emptied on a windy day.

Good tip, Wavechange. We are right out of paper carrier bags right now so we put the shreddings in the middle of the bin with heavier stuff above and below. I could use my 1970’s Sainsbury’s paper carrier bags but I am saving them for a dry day.

C BRACKLEY says:
16 November 2019

Indeed! Why do I have to fill my kitchen with recycling bins because we have to sort out recycling when my son in a different county can put it all in one bin?

If we put all our waste in one bin it would end up going into landfill or being incinerated, even materials like glass and metals that can be recycled. Landfill takes up space and chemicals can pollute rivers and other watercourses. Incineration produces toxic fumes adding to atmospheric pollution.

I think putrescible waste should be kept separate from [usually] dry recyclable waste, but some councils seem to insist on excessive degrees of separation of recyclable waste for dubious reasons. It has been proved that there is no reason why all recyclable waste cannot be put in a single bin. It requires a bit more sorting, mostly mechanical, but that is just part of the process, not something to get worked up about.

If all household waste goes in one bin without any separation the chances are that very little will be recycled. I had not realised that any local authorities were still collecting mixed waste.

I am not aware of any examples, but most public waste bins still collect mixed waste.

Yes – that annoys me and is easily preventable, surely.

terence freedman says:
16 November 2019

My local council has moved from a few bins with the warning to use only the correct bin to a ‘mix it all up’ approach based on the premise that machine sorting is faster, more reliable and recovers more. The rules about fouled deposits still apply. Councils and packagers need to be clearer about what is recyclable to avoid the need to check with the local council to see if the packaging is recyclable and this might be assisted by a ‘locally recyclable’ tag attached by the retailer
to every product container.

Martin says:
17 November 2019

Wouldn’t it be far more practical if all plastic containers and wrapping were made of the
same materials instead of a plastic tray with a non recycling film with a sticky paper label
and all that in a very often oversize carton box.? If all supermarkets would have the same system then it would save us all a lot of hassle.

It would be possible to make the label peelable or non-sticky but the film has to be transparent and the container reasonably rigid, which usually means different plastics. I doubt that one plastic is ideal to do both jobs but since food trays are commonly transparent it might be worth trying. I suspect that packaging has a lot to do with making products look appealing, but that should be of secondary importance.

I agree. People don’t have any problem seeing the contents of “Tupperware”-style boxes. Do they not provide sufficient air-tightness for fresh meat and fish products and chilled or frozen meals? The containers could then have a second life for all sorts of purposes before eventually being recycled.

Plastics are not the inert materials that we would sometimes like them to be. They are permeable to oxygen – which varies according to plastic. They can also be stained by certain foods. A translucent material such as a Tupperware type box is not as appealing as a transparent film. I don’t know how many people do find a use for food containers. I have some polypropylene soup containers that are used to store or freeze portions of soup.

A lot of waste could be avoided if we rejected convenience food and made our own. How difficult is it to make a sandwich, fill a bottle with tap water or take a Thermos flask for a hot drink when we go out, and come back to home-made soup? I suppose we are all too busy watching food programmes on TV.

Aluminium makes a perfectly good and totally recyclable food container. I wonder how far cellophane can be adapted as a non-plastic film?

We should not be accepting any single use plastic in view if the damage being done to the environment.

Reusable containers are, in my view, the best bet. We just need to adjust our habits.

Aluminium is not totally recyclable, although the industry claims that it is. Aluminium is a highly reactive metal, some of which oxidises during the recycling process (and during the production of new aluminium), producing a dross containing aluminium oxide.

From Wikipedia: “White dross, a residue from primary aluminium production and secondary recycling operations, usually classified as waste,[17] still contains useful quantities of aluminium which can be extracted industrially.[18] The process produces aluminium billets, together with a highly complex waste material. This waste is difficult to manage. It reacts with water, releasing a mixture of gases (including, among others, hydrogen, acetylene, and ammonia) which spontaneously ignites on contact with air;[19] contact with damp air results in the release of copious quantities of ammonia gas. Despite these difficulties, however, the waste has found use as a filler in asphalt and concrete.[20]” Aluminium packaging is readily available but most manufacturers choose plastic because it is cheaper and in many cases a better solution for packaging.

Cellophane use has decreased for various reasons, including the fact that it is easily torn and
its manufacture uses highly toxic carbon disulphide.

If we are going to make a worthwhile reduction in the use of single-use plastics I believe that legislation will be needed.

When we discuss the damage single use plastics do I believe we need to sensibly consider alternatives. I think to highlight the very minor loss in recycling of aluminium to refute industry claims is to distract from constructive solutions. The same Wiki article says earlier – “Aluminium is an infinitely recyclable material, and it takes up to 95 percent less energy to recycle it than to produce primary aluminum, which also limits emissions, including greenhouse gases. Today, about 75 percent of all aluminum produced in history, nearly a billion tons, is still in use.[6]

The recycling of aluminium generally produces significant cost savings over the production of new aluminium, even when the cost of collection, separation and recycling are taken into account.[7] Over the long term, even larger national savings are made when the reduction in the capital costs associated with landfills, mines, and international shipping of raw aluminium are considered.“.

In my book this makes it a good packaging contender.

I suggested that rather than use plastic film for clear covering “I wonder how far cellophane can be adapted as a non-plastic film?” and I think we should seek informative views on this or other non-plastic alternatives.

We have a fundamental problem with plastic. Single-use packaging seems a prime example of where, by various means, we can make a start.
First, encourage unpackaged products and the use of customers reusable containers.
Second, minimise all unnecessary packaging.
Third, for essential packaging find and use materials that do not damage the environment.

We need to examine the problem with a “how can we” approach, rather than “why we can’t”. And we need to do it well before the distant targets set by the government, and the supermarkets.

It is very constructive to raise awareness of incorrect and misleading information. When we are discussing electric vehicles it is often said that they are pollution-free, and while this makes them much better in polluted cities, it ignores other environmental considerations including those of battery manufacture and subsequent disposal.

We cannot produce packaging materials that do not damage the environment but we must minimise that damage.

My view is that we should push our government to introduce legislation specifying one or more options for best practice in packaging of goods. For example, eggs could be sold loose or packed in traditional cardboard boxes, but not in foam-plastic or transparent plastic, which are sometimes used.

There is a limit to what individuals can or will do, which is why I believe that legislation is the only viable solution.

Not so much legislation as practical alternatives. This is the key to much of the future development and planning for a better environment. Simply banning things and restricting usage is a very negative way of working, and to suggest a hair shirt approach where everything is bad and must be stopped at once doesn’t seek the cooperation of the populous it alienates them. We should be talking about each problem, be it transport, packaging, food, energy solutions or movement of goods and looking positively at need and solution. Once the solution is in place, public opinion has a chance to alter practice. We don’t like change, that’s in built into most of us, but most of us would rather change than do without altogether.

Moving to using packaging that is less environmentally damaging should not alienate the population if done sensibly. Taking the example I have given, is anyone going to be upset by being required to buy eggs loose or in cardboard cartons rather than in plastic?

Agreed, so long as these can get to the larder without breaking, you have no need for plastic, you just need a method of selling and transporting them efficiently. Hen in back yard might do.

We have suggested such options a number of times in an earlier Convo; better still to take your own egg carton and refill it. A good number of other approaches to wasteful packaging have been proposed.

We do not need regulation. Government is generally incapable of rapid, intelligent, action – the best so far is to aim to remove unnecessary packaging in 6 years but still concentrates on recycling – plastic is really not that recyclable.

A more proactive approach is needed. We need retailer action, such as initiated by Waitrose. We need consumer action – to maybe dump all the unnecessary packaging on a trolley on their next shipping trip to unhelpful retailers. Better, we need a consumer campaign.

Ultimate “ecoism ” — my cousin and I when children walked 5 miles to a farm asked for a chicken –take your pick said the farmer –that one will do –grabbed it –rung its neck –paid for it –it was still twitching as we walked by home.
No plastic bags , no cardboard containers , no car/motorbike/scooter just the feet and legs we were born with.

I can sometimes buy loose eggs in the village shop but not in supermarkets, which sell the majority of eggs. The nearest Waitrose does not offer the option to buy loose produce and I don’t know of any local retailer that does.

It was legislation that resulted in an end to smoking in public places. Action by businesses and consumer pressure had achieved limited action. Offering low sulphur fuel as an alternative had limited success, but requiring that all petrol and diesel was low sulphur did work. I don’t know of any cases of major environmental benefits that have been achieved without legislation.

Earlier in the year, you said that you were going to leave the surplus packaging when shopping. What was the outcome? When I tried this many years ago I found problems, for example the barcode for a multi-pack was on the outside packaging.

Vynor – The simplest way of transporting eggs without breaking them is to reuse a cardboard carton. I have a 1950s plastic box that my mother used to store eggs delivered by the ‘Eggman’. I will take it down to the village shop this evening, in the hope that I can collect half a dozen eggs.

e.g. https://media.greenpeace.org/CS.aspx?VP3=SearchResult&VBID=27MZV8RXPS7JP&SMLS=1&RW=1920&RH=937

How long did smoking go on in public places before legislation curtailed it? How long before throw-away carrier bags were outlawed? How long do we have to wait to stop plastic pollution?

The simplest way of transporting eggs without breaking them is to…” use a 2CV.

It would not take much for supermarkets to display eggs in trays for you to fill your own container. You might have to be served though, and a barcode issued, to prevent dishonesty.

“When we are discussing electric vehicles it is often said that they are pollution-free,….. Context is everything; most people will be considering emissions when debating electric cars, so “pollution-free is correct”. Well, apart from tyre and brake residue perhaps.

It amases me how many agency carers have no clue as to what can or cannot be recycled when they live same area and council as I do. Standardisation could prevent the constant barrage of questions and cardboard which has been directly in contact with raw food ending in the wrong recycle or to bin it. It is online but it seems very few bother to find out.

Mrs Mary Chaplin says:
15 November 2019

I would like to see the banks and building societies be made to respect and cater for the thousands of pensioners, disabled
people and all those who for whatever reason are unable to use
the technology that is available for banking on line but do not
have the knowhow or the confidence to use these facilities. I
would like to see the banks and building societies be made to
keep a wide range of banking systems in place for all those
people who prefer to pay by cheque book and card and also
to be able to use the cash machines that so many banks and
building societies are in a great hurry to get rid of. Banks are
all about self preservation and it’s time they were brought to
book and made to respect and look after their loyal customers.

That is my priority.

peripateticray says:
15 November 2019

In addition to supporting protection from online fraud, fake and unsafe products, I am plagued as are many others by calls from international call centres purporting to be from BT, Barclays, Santander, Inland Revenue, etc. which are not easily discouraged by call blocking or any other interventions. I would encourage the tech world, governments and consumer groups to tackle this problem multi-nationally as I am aware of the misery it has caused. Calls from national networks are much reduced already, so the time is right to get after the off shore predators.

Shirley Nixon says:
15 November 2019

Not everyone wants to be connected online 24/7. There are those with Dementia who can’t cope with electronic devices and things that change constantly before they’ve even had time to use them. But my biggest concern is the way that the climate is changing. You just have to look at the flooding here in the UK and the fires that have been rampaging through Australia and California. Global leaders are not taking any notice of what is happening, it seems that it’s nothing to do with them.IT IS SOMETHING TO DO WITH EVERYBODY ON THE PLANET! Forget about HS2. £88 billion plus will be spent on something that I will never use on the west side of the country whilst my home on the east side, is likely to be flooded before this train system is finished and my council can’t afford to provide me with simple sand bags. Something is wrong here. Someone needs to step up and not be afraid to cancel projects that aren’t necessary and really listen and look at what we really want and need.

David Neal. says:
15 November 2019

I live in Blackpool where the Trading Standards unit is of no use whatever. In fact, the whole department could be closed down and no-one would notice.
EXAMPLE:- There is demand for the whole of this area to be declared “No Cold Calling”. The TS department’s approach is to ask EVERY household [65000+] to separately apply to be included. It was never going to happen!! The simple way to deal with it would have been to declare the whole lot a “No Cold Calling “area and invite people to opt out if they did not wish to be included. This nonsense has been going on for several years and, the last I heard, the number of acceptances was in the low hundreds. It could have been done in a month.

This is what UK telephone users are up against –
https://gsa-marketing.co.uk/telemarketing-tips-50-dos-and-50-donts/

A training manual for sales callers in the UK by none other than an authorised sales body in this country –the GSA (business development ) at first I thought it was a USA spiel till I checked the URL and the UK telephone number as I read exactly the same spiel years ago in a USA sales manual in the USA online .
Here is the TS customer support –
https://www.tradingstandards.uk/consumers/support-advice

I have a simple way of dealing with telephone sales calls. I politely explain that I do not buy anything as a result of an unsolicited call, and never have done, which is true.

Maybe GSA Marketing should include the need to check if people are registered with the Telephone Preference Service.

I think that training manual was intended for business-to-business calls. Cold calls to private individuals are illegal even if the called party is not registered with TPS. The techniques advocated are nothing new – I remember such tactics many years ago. As you might expect, we were trained in how to defeat them. Salespeople are usually trying to deal with someone higher up in the target hierarchy than they are in their company, which puts them at a disadvantage and explains why they are desperate to avoid getting intercepted by the ‘gatekeeper’ who will try to push them back down the line.

That’s what it says, John, but I suspect that there is a lot in common, irrespective if the recipient of cold calling is an individual or business.

I had forgotten that the law on cold calling had changed. This is from the Ofcom website:

“What is the law?
Although companies and organisations are allowed to make live telesales calls, they cannot call you if you have:

> told them previously that you don’t want to receive telesales calls from them; or

> registered your number with the Telephone Preference Service (TPS) or Corporate Telephone Preference Service (CTPS), unless you have previously given a company permission to make marketing calls to you (e.g. by ticking or unticking a tick box on a form when starting a new service or getting a product from the company).
The law makes a distinction between live telesales calls (where there is a person on the line) and automated marketing calls when a recorded marketing message is played.”

Thanks Wavechange. It seems that the restriction is not as absolute as I had thought. It’s so long since we received a sales call I was under the impression they had all been outlawed.

Roger Singfield says:
16 November 2019

I am always getting these telesales calls, I have found a great way to get them off of the line, I answer the call by saying “Surrey Police Fraud Department, how can I help you”. It is surprising just how fast the caller puts the phone down. I have a telephone that records the incoming phone number or tells you that it is “out of area”. These are always cold calls. Also, watch out for calls that come every day at about the same time, these are computer-generated calls. I am on the TPS system but these people don’t worry about that and so just by-pass it I have a friend that plays along with them, his record is one and a half hours for a call from India, it must have cost them a small fortune just to get a brush off at the end. He doesn’t get overseas calls anymore.

Like a lot of good training, much of that so called “training manual” is just applied common sense.

I especially liked “Do Number 4 – Be honest — it really is the best approach. You WILL get found out if you lie.”

5. Be motivated — People buy people. If you’re not positive about what you offer, why should your prospects be interested?
The Donald approach.

Incidentally, “You WILL get found out if you lie.”” but you won’t be penalised, so don’t worry. Lie away.

Whenever I’ve been in sales meetings (etc.), either as a vendor or as a buyer, I’ve never known things to go well for the vendor if lies are told. While many lies may appear to go unchallenged in such meetings, afterwards is another matter….

If only that applied to politicians.

Indeed. As a voter, I resent being lied to.

Pat Folkerd says:
16 November 2019

The urgent need for UK wide consistently comprehensive recycling services & also for all product packaging to be able to be manufactured from materials suitable for recycling

Dave Row says:
16 November 2019

A secure and comprehensive supply of drugs and therapies in the NHS for all UK patients. Let there be no postcode lottery!

C BRACKLEY says:
16 November 2019

Pressure must be put on all supermarkets, shops and factoriesdistrubution to use less packaging. The burden seems to fall on consumers and recycling centres at the moment.

More thought needs to go into these policies. For a number of food products there is a move from plastic which can be washed clean and then recycled to cardboard which once impregnated with some of the contents of the packet is only good for landfill. This is a backwards step.

The issue with plastic is NOT the usage, but the dumping, burying or burning. There is no issue if products use plastic packaging that can be recycled AND it is recycled. PET is endlessly recyclable without degredation.

I agree that more thought is needed, Ian. It’s pointless saying that a cardboard sandwich wrapper or a fish & chip box can be recycled because they are likely be contaminated with mayo or grease and would contaminate recyclable waste.

Despite claims that PET is fully recyclable because hydrolytic degradation reduces the polymer chain length. It’s possible to reduce but not avoid the problem, so recycled PET is usually a blend of new and used material.

I don’t know of any plastic where the long polymer chains are not gradually broken on recycling, giving degradation. Maybe there is a list.

I have no problem with plastics being used for “permanent” purposes – well, little is, so long term use. That still has to be disposed of at some point. I’d like to concentrate on single use plastics that depend upon being correctly sorted, then given a possible short recycled life before polluting the planet. We should abolish those and use good alternatives.

I haven’t checked on the Waitrose initiative to sell unpackaged products, to use customers own packaging etc. We managed without single use plastic packaging once; if we really care about the environment we could do it again. Where is the Which? campaign?

I thought cardboard sandwiches went out with British Rail. Perhaps they will make a nostalgic return when the rail system is (re)nationalised?

C BRACKLEY says:
16 November 2019

Put pressure on shops and supermarkets to use only the most necessary packaging. The burden is all on the consumer and recycling centres at the moment!

I agree, but cannot see this happen without legislation. My suggestion is that companies are provided with one or more options for packaging different types of food, chosen to reduce the use of materials (e.g. plastic/metal composites) that are difficult or impossible to recycle. It’s important to bear in mind that packaging can extend the life of fresh foods such as raw meat, thus reducing food waste, so compromises are needed.

I had that very thought this morning when I opened a new box of cereal – it was 50% air. 😞

We should not only minimise packaging but, where it is essential for protection and preservation, use materials that can be recycled properly, not degraded like plastics. Aluminium is a good contender – infinitely recyclable. We need transparent film – perhaps organic based. Glass might be heavy but is reusable.

The point about abolishing plastics is that sooner or later (usually much sooner) they end up discarded and polluting the environment, waterways and oceans and cannot be recovered – an increasing stockpile of permanent rubbish that enters the food chain.

Supermarkets could be pushed into tackling this long before their own stated plans suggest. Consumers could drive this if they were sufficiently bothered.

Larry Roxon says:
16 November 2019

Safety – Which gets involved with tumble dryers etc. but what about inflammable cladding? There must be recompense and corporate prosecutions.

“Dont talk about it Larry —-like some of the residents in that block of flats I have the full background on who supplied it-what those in America think of it ( banned there ) and a full running document of -money saving-“corruption” -political manipulation etc –offline but I could never post it although it seems okay to do so in America.

Why can’t you post it? You could submit it to the enquiry.

The last time on Which ? I posted some disparaging comments on the “new ” propaganda and control of the public “services ” run and paid for by HMG , which was a few weeks ago I was taken offline for 5 minutes so they could show me who is in charge .
It worked I am not stupid Malcolm you cant beat GCHQ so I have to watch what i say .

I am not sure you can prove cause and effect, Duncan. You certainly have to watch what you say but so long as it is the truth they can’t touch you for it.

I’m not sure Which? Conversation is the right place for such a document, however; there must be other more relevant sites that would welcome such material. I hope the public inquiry gets to the bottom of it, including any corrupt practices, so why not send what you have to the Grenfell Tower Stage 2 Inquiry?

John I know what goes on behind the scenes in our government “services ” and “James Bond ” style “uprightness ” it isn’t , nothing “gentlemanly ” about it .
The picture put out of “chivalrous actions ” on behalf of “Democracy & Freedom ” is pure bull the reality is as dark as you can picture it.
Those London citizens in one of the “Action Groups ” already hold what I hold ( they contacted me ) but its not the picture HMG would like to publicise.

I’ll take your word for it, Duncan. I couldn’t possibly comment.

M.L.Straiton. says:
16 November 2019

All MPs in the last parliament should NOT be allowed to stand for re-election.

Lin Lambell says:
16 November 2019

Subsidised reliable public transport and less hierarchy in the wages scale. More tranparency, honesty and fairness!

Man Abbott says:
16 November 2019

ALL UTILITIES e.g ELECTRICITY /GAS /WATER /BROADBAND COMPANIES SHOULD BE RE-NATIONALISED ON A LOCAL AUTHORITY LEVEL AND NOT ON NATIONAL LEVEL. EACH LOCAL AUTHORITY SHOULD PROVIDE THESE SERVICES TO THEIR RATE PAYERS HOUSEHOLDER AT A DISCOUNTED RATE, ENCOURAGE RESIDENTS TO INSTALL SOLAR PANELS / WIND TURBINE IN THE GARDENS TO GENERATE ELECTRICITY FOR THEIR OWN CONSUMPTION AND USE LESS GAS. THE AMOUNT OF WASTE WE GENERATE IN UK SHOULD BE RE-CYCLE AND GENERATE GAS FOR HEATING AND COOKING. IT WILL BE ENVIROMENT FRIENDLY AND BETTER VALUE FOR MONEY.

David Tomlinson says:
16 November 2019

When a public body (government or council department) outsources a service of any kind the contracting company should be required to comply fully with the legal requirements and timeframes of the Freedom of Information Acts. The contract should expressly forbid them claiming that any part of the contract or record, task, process or procedure is commercially confidential. Their income and profits from the contract should be reported to Parliament and published in the national press.

I would like to see government making it mandatory for premises serving food to display their current food hygiene rating. This is mandatory in Wales and Northern Ireland but not in England.

Here is some background information from the Food Standards Agency’s website:
“Display Rates

England continues to lag behind Wales and Northern Ireland in terms of display rates, Compulsory display would likely have a big impact upon display rates in England, as seen in Northern Ireland and Wales.

Rates of display of stickers visible from outside the premises were:

49% in England
84% in Wales
82% in Northern Ireland
In Northern Ireland, there has been a significant increase in the proportion of establishments that are displaying their rating so that is visible from the outside (82% compared to 48% in 2016). In Wales, there has also been a significant increase in outside display of ratings (84% compared to 68% in 2016).

In England, businesses with a higher rating continue to be more likely to display than those with a lower rating. Over two-thirds (67%) of those with a rating of 5 are displaying their rating compared to 28% of those that have a rating of 0-3. These proportions are in line with those seen in 2016.

Motivations to display
Around a third of establishments in each country say that displaying their rating has had a positive impact upon their business (31% in England, 39% in Northern Ireland and 35% in Wales).

Customer assurance (53%) continues to be the main motivation for display in England followed by being proud of their rating (36%).

The majority of establishments that receive a rating of 4 or below continue to take action to improve their rating (86% in England, 81% in Wales and 80% in Northern Ireland).

Mandatory display
The vast majority of businesses (95% in Northern Ireland and 98% in Wales) are aware that display is mandatory. Most are positive about the scheme, with 80% in Wales and 79% in Northern Ireland saying it is a good idea or they understand why it is necessary.

In England, business attitudes towards compulsory display are also positive, with over three-quarters (77%) saying the introduction of compulsory display would be a good thing.”

FSA is supportive but it is up to the government to take action. It would also be good for Scotland to move from the present system where premises are rated Pass or Improvement required, and inspections infrequent.

Why did you miss out Scotland Wavechange ? I just had a “Chinese ” delivered to my door by the local Chinese restaurant in the next village (east ) and I was able to look up its hygiene inspections by Fifeshire council.
Foods Standard Scotland.gov-
https://www.foodstandards.gov.scot/consumers/food-safety/buying-food-eating-out/food-hygiene-information-scheme

The quotation from the FSA misses out Scotland, presumably because it uses a different system – as I mentioned in my final sentence.

Elsewhere in the UK, premises are rated 0-5: https://www.food.gov.uk/safety-hygiene/food-hygiene-rating-scheme In Wales, where it has been mandatory to display ratings for years, those with the top rating often use this to promote their businesses.

Not all customers pay attention to food hygiene ratings but others value them. I have noticed that where premises receive a rating of 4 or below they often rectify the problems and arrange for the council to carry out another inspection.

As far as I know, all the data in the Food Standards Scotland website is also on the Food Standards Agency’s website: https://ratings.food.gov.uk I’d like to see Scotland using a 0-5 food hygiene rating.

helen turner says:
17 November 2019

Our local little bus was cancelled last year. Muself and a lot of other pensioners relied on it for shopping, doctor;s appointments etc. I personally collect 3 other pensioners every Saturdat to do their shopping. We all would be willing to pay for this service if asked,

Where I live Helen there is a private firm that covers the whole shire but each part of that shire has an allocated area , it is subsidised by the shire council and OAP,s can use their travel free cards and get pickup up and returned for nothing .
Obviously your shire is not willing to subsidise this type of service.

Henry Lister says:
17 November 2019

Return Full Fishing Rights to the UK. Loss of 70% to the European Union destroyed fishing communities/ all the supporting industry and the future jobs in the UK. The protection of London and the Home Counties were more important to the Government. Lots of harbours in Scotland lost their fishing fleets and in some case are now berthing private yachts etc.

That is a MAJOR issue where I live Henry all white fish no longer caught at this very well known Fife sea fishing village only Lobsters/Crabs /Prawns etc – next village is now a posh marina for rich yacht owners – very angry ex fishermen .
Just contact the FMA Henry and hold the phone away from your ear .
I hope somebody is listening to this with 12 December coming up ?

BRIAN KENNEDY says:
18 November 2019

Dear Which, you appear to be doing quite a bit to protect our society from unnoticed problems. I can not understand most of the issues in which you are engaged but I am pleased that there are people and organisations like yours who have vigilance and insight to help protect us children (81 years old)

Not “unnoticed ” by a large section of the British public Brian judging by the avalanche of posts when a subject dear to the heart of the British public is raised , if Which ? wasn’t there to bring injustices to public notice then you would be heading towards a dictatorial state.

Marva Collins says:
18 November 2019

It would be nice to see a return to moralistic values as laid out in the Human Rights legislature. With a focus on providing affordable housing for those in need, jobs for the employed and youth clubs on housing estates to try and eradicate violence between youngsters.

Thats right Marva bring back Frankie Vaughan visiting tough Easterhouse in Glasgow in the 50,s and of course –Billy Graham to “convert us “–at a price of course .
I still have his booklet from the 50,s when I was dragged to listen to him calling all the sinners to repentance, one of my aunts went down to the stage .