Tyneside Consumer’s Group has been representing the grass-roots consumer in Tyneside for almost fifty years now. We have been particularly concerned with local transport issues. A major upgrade of the Tyne and Wear Metro system is underway and we will be watching this closely. We visited the Metro Control Centre where staff answered our questions on safety, passenger information and security and plans for upgrading the stations. We also commented on Newcastle Airport’s audit of noise and its noise reduction plans.
We are always keen to investigate new local facilities and a number of our members visited the wonderful new Newcastle Central Library to see the range of services on offer.
We have watched with interest the introduction of the “scores on the doors” scheme designed to promote the highest standards of hygiene in food premises as it is rolled out nationally. We are pleased to publicise local schemes to promote recycling and to highlight innovations such as a pioneering system to help hearing and speech impaired people contact the emergency services.
Through our meetings and our magazine, Tyne Buy, we are also able to highlight members’ concerns. A significant current issue is “financial services” ranging from the appropriateness of financial products to the phasing out of cheques. We followed this up at our AGM with a speaker from the banking sector. A continuing concern is inappropriate labelling of food with information in type we cannot read because of the size of print and the colour of the printing – and information such as cooking time, difficult to find when rushing round a crowded supermarket.
As well as providing local information on consumer matters, our magazine also helps our members to keep up to date with national issues and to acknowledge good service and good practices. There is now a mass of information available on the web but few of our members have the time or the inclination to hunt for it themselves. So we try to be their eyes and ears!