As Members of Parliament head home for the Summer Recess, we wanted to take a moment to reflect on our recent political activity in Westminster and the devolved bodies.
In an ideal world, all service providers would be committed to consumer choice and protecting your right to access, without additional cost, paper bills and statements.
Sadly, this is not the case and we therefore continue to engage with Government and regulators to encourage wider reform across regulated consumer markets.
We have spent a considerable amount of time over the last year briefing MPs across the political spectrum. There is a growing appetite within Westminster for paper billing and the importance of consumer choice when managing financial affairs.
So much so, we recently met the Consumer Affairs Minister and senior Civil Servants with the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills to discuss our achievements, research and offer our recommendations.
Our petition in Parliament has now collected signatures from MPs from Conservative, Labour, Liberal Democrat, Plaid, DUP and Green Members of Parliament.
This is an important issue and transcends party political lines.
Our political activity is not limited to Westminster.
We recently travelled to Cardiff to present our campaign to Members of the Welsh Assembly. Digital exclusion is an issue which disproportionately impacts Welsh consumers.
Our campaign was also brought to the attention of Assembly Members in the Senedd during a 90 second statement by Suzy Davies AM. Suzy also tabled a Statement of Opinion on our behalf in support of those Welsh businesses, which have signed up to the campaign. We would like to thank Suzy and her assistant Craig for their efforts.
UK wide, we have been working closely with Citizens Advice who have statutory advocacy duties in the energy and telecoms market. Two markets which are woefully underrepresented within the family of organisations awarded the Keep Me Posted ‘Best Practice’ Mark of Distinction.
We are delighted to see that Citizens Advice has incorporated our recommendations into their policy work plan for the coming year.
We were invited to join a consumer roundtable event at Ofwat, the Water regulator, earlier this month. We highlighted the work of the nine water companies who have been awarded our Mark. Rachel Fletcher, Ofwat’s Chief Executive Officer, recognised and praised the legitimacy of our work. We briefed Ms Fletcher after the event where we shared our recommendations on vulnerability in consumer markets.
Watch this space.