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NEW CHAIR APPOINTED TO THE NATIONAL CONSUMER COUNCIL

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Lord Whitty has been appointed as the new Chair of the National Consumer Council....
Lord Whitty has been appointed as the new Chair of the National Consumer Council.

Consumer Minister Gerry Sutcliffe said:

'I am pleased to announce the appointment of Lord Whitty as the new Chair of the National Consumer Council. I am confident that he will be a strong champion for a fair deal for consumers.

'I would like to thank Dr Chilton, the vice-Chair, for doing an excellent job acting as Chair in the interim and tackling some important issues.'

Lord Whitty was previously Minister for Farming, Food and Sustainable Energy at the Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs.

Lord Whitty said:

'I am delighted to have been offered this job. Many consumers, especially vulnerable groups, still get a raw deal. The National Consumer Council can make a real difference on their behalf. The Government has proposed to reform and strengthen consumer representation and I am very much looking forward to being a part of this work and helping make sure consumers obtain a better deal.'

The National Consumer Council champions the consumer interest to bring policy changes that will benefit all, particularly the disadvantaged, across the UK. It works with other consumer organisations, and across the public, private and voluntary sectors.

Notes

1. The NCC is a non-statutory organisation, set up in 1975. The Department of Trade and Industry and other government departments are the prime funders. Further details can be found at www.ncc.org.uk

2. On 25 January 2006, the DTI issued a consumer consultation

('Strengthen and Streamline Consumer Advocacy') that invites views on reform of consumer representation. This includes the possibility of bringing together the National Consumer Council (including the Welsh Consumer Council and the Scottish Consumer Council) with a number of sector-based consumer bodies as 'Consumer Voice'. The models proposed in the consultation envisage the retention of offices in England, Wales, and Scotland. See the consultation document on www.dti.gov.uk/ccp/consultations.htm

3. The recruitment process for the new Chair followed the Office for the Commissioner for Public Appointments (in England and Wales) Code of Practice. The appointment is from 6 March 2006 until 31 December 2010 and Lord Whitty will receive a fee of£32,000 based on a time commitment of two days per week. All appointments are made on merit and political activity plays no part in the selection process.

However, in accordance with the original Nolan recommendations, there is a requirement for appointees' political activity to be made public.

4. Lord Whitty is a member of the House of Lords. Before his previous Ministerial post Lord Whitty was General Secretary of the Labour Party, Head of Research and Legal Department at the GMB trade union, and a civil servant. He is currently acting as adviser to the GMB and also to Eaga who deliver fuel poverty improvements to vulnerable households.

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