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Vouch for consumers, but don't ask them

As the disputed nursery voucher pilot stutters into action, one delighted agency is bound to be the Scottish Consumer Council, which was almost alone in praising the initiative when giving evidence to a Commons Select Committee.

The council was forced to admit it did not consult members, since it does not have a membership. "We looked at it on the basis of our consumer principles which have been developed and tested for a very long period of time and in a large number of areas," MPs were told authoritively. "Those principles are access, choice, safety, information representation and redress."

Just for the record, the council last year received a Government grant of Pounds 345,683 and is chaired by Deirdre Hutton, former member of the Howie committee and wife of former Conservative Euro MP Alasdair Hutton.

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