Dumfries and Galloway MP Richard Arkless has today welcomed agreement from the UK Government that the Scottish Power Cashback scheme was ‘not administered in the best interests of the consumer’.


Mr Arkless who has a background as a consumer litigator, has played a crucial role in the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) that was set up to investigate the £75million miss-selling cash-back scheme which is thought to have affected 625,000 Scottish Power customers throughout the UK.


Over several months the Group have been compiling evidence from many sources, including liquidators, regulators, former customers and employees of the details of the scheme and how it was sold to customers.


At the end of April the Group published its official report into this scandal and made recommendations that the issue be re-examined by a Parliamentary Select Committee.  They also recommended that the Serious Fraud Office and the National Crime Agency investigate the serious allegations made by those involved during the investigation as a matter of urgency.


This week the APPG received a letter from the Solicitor General, Robert Buckland MP which stated:


“It is very clear from the APPG’s report that whatever the merits of the allegations of criminality, the cash-back scheme was not administered in the best interests of the consumer.”


Mr Arkless who raised this issue with the Prime Minister on 25th February during Prime Ministers Questions, has played a key role is raising the profile of the APPG and bringing it to the Government attention.  Today he welcomed this response adding that “the UK Governments acknowledgement that consumers interests were not a priority in the administration of the scheme, is a positive step in the right direction.” Mr. Arkless and other members of the APPG have also met with the Consumer Affairs Minister, Nick Boles MP to discuss their findings.


Commenting further Mr Arkless said:


“The Minister was clearly sympathetic towards the customers of Scottish Power who have lost out here, whilst recognising the difficulties in holding Scottish Power to account. Notwithstanding these difficulties he has agreed to make contact with the Financial Ombudsman Service and others to clarify why they can not investigate .


“This is a scandal of massive proportions and I am pleased to see the UK Government recognise the severity of this issue and agree that the APPG have been right to investigate this further.


“For the Minister to also agree that the scheme was not administered in the best interests of the consumers is very welcome indeed and we will move forward from this point and continue to work hard to ensure that all affected Scottish Power customers get their money back.


“I have had discussions with colleagues in the BIS (Business, Innovation & Skills) Select Committee to assess whether they can investigate this issue further.


“I have also set up a new APPG which will focus solely on Consumer Protection – Westminster has been too long without a Consumer Champion and that is something I intend to remedy.  This new APPG will be an important first step in making sure that consumers have their concerns properly represented by MPs.”


Mr Arkless added:


“It is an absolute disgrace that Scottish Power, one of the country’s largest utility companies, can make a promise to its customers and so blatantly break that promise.  I am determined to receive a positive outcome for everyone who has been left out of pocket by this scheme – I will not be letting this one go.”


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