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BYERS IN TALKS TO ENSURE RING-FENCING OF CASH FOR CONSUMER PROTECTION

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Hansard 22 July: Column 1342 ...
Hansard 22 July: Column 1342

Trade and industry secretary Steven Byers - whose white paper on consumer protection was welcomed by all parties - told MPs trading standards officers had been closely involved in the development of government policies in the white paper.

'There remains the question the question of how we can target the extra funding {which Mr Byers later indicated would be about£30m] to ensure that it is used specifically for consumer-related matters. We shall be considering whether we can find a mechanism enabling us to do that, through local authorities, and we shall be engaging in discussions to that effect', said Mr Byers.

He added that government had just allocated an extra£1.3m nationally to Consumer Advice Bureaux to improve their consumer advice computer network.

Conservative front-bencher Angela Browning said it was clear that since Labour took office resources were important, even under existing legislation.

'To give just one example, since the government took office trading standards officers have been charged with the task of identifying the GM contents of processed foods. The technology developed in the past few years to carry out such tests is extremely expensive and trading standards officers do not have the resources to carry out that task'.

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