It’s a political agenda from me this week, as we look to changing legislation so that your right to keep paper bills is protected.
Firstly, in the House of Lords, there was the Report Stage of the Consumer Rights Bill. Our very able and loyal supporter Baroness Oppenheim –Barnes once more stood up for the people with her amendment stating that “At the consumer’s request, which can be done by any means at any time, including at the time of signature of the contract, forthcoming bills shall be sent to that consumer in paper format free of charge”.
And she must have stirred some hearts and minds because when it came to voting – and I don’t think our principles have been voted on before – the result was very close, with 163 in favour of the amendment and 189 against. Yes, we may have lost – but the fact that so many members of the House were prepared to get behind the amendment is a fantastic platform to build on.
Elsewhere, the political parties are setting the wheels in motion towards next year’s election with their selection of candidates to fight for each constituency. Keep Me Posted has started its own ball rolling by asking those selected if they would support our aims and get behind the campaign if elected. In just the first week we have received almost 20 responses, and we believe that as time rolls on, we will be garnering more support, so that when the next Government is elected, we shall already have a substantial base to work with.
And you can play your part too. When, as they inevitably will, a candidate comes knocking on your door vying for your vote, ask them if they are backing the campaign, and urge them to do so if not. You can find a list of who has already signed up on our website, listed by constituency, so they should be easy to spot.
Obviously it’s a big task reaching every prospective new candidate, so there may be some we’ve missed and we’d love to hear from them – or if you’re a prospective parliamentary candidate already reading this, make sure we have you on our list. As the election approaches, we’re hoping supporters will use it to look up their would-be local representatives and see if they are a supporter.
There are almost seven million people out there who do not want to or can’t use the internet, and a further 11 million who do not have the basic computer skills to manage their financial affairs online. They need the choice of keeping paper bills and statements without being penalised. And they hold a lot of votes that could go the way of the candidate who backs the campaign.