LOCAL MP Patricia Gibson has renewed her calls on the UK Government to act to protect shoppers from being short-changed by millions of pounds.

Four out of five people spend more on gift cards and vouchers than on actual presents, according to the UK Gift Card & Voucher Association, the trade body for an industry worth some £6 billion a year.

While often seen as a useful gift idea for those difficult-to-buy-for relatives, around £300 million worth of gift cards and vouchers go unused every year, partly due to very short or hidden expiry periods with no indication on the card of when this arbitrary date may be.

Mrs Gibson who is the SNP Consumers Affairs spokesperson said: “Nobody wants to see the hard-earned cash they spend on presents for friends and family thrown down the drain. More transparency around expiry dates on gift cards is essential.

“The minimum period and policies for gift cards are arbitrary and can vary dramatically from shop to shop. Some have very short or hidden expiry periods. Many people wind up losing their money because the cards expire the retailers make money without any exchange of goods or services.