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Brexit letter to the PM: consumers must be represented

Brexit letter

In a joint letter to the Prime Minister, Which?, Citizens Advice and Money Saving Expert have called for a cross-government working group tasked with getting the best possible deal for UK consumers in the Brexit negotiations.

Dear Prime Minister,

The British people’s vote to leave the European Union has raised many questions about the future of trade, business, the financial markets and British workers’ rights, to name just a few. The Government is discussing all of these issues openly and publicly, with various forums being announced by Government ministers.

Yet an economy is nothing without consumers. Despite this, the UK Government is still to make a substantive statement about the role consumers will play in its vision for a successful Brexit. Less than a third of consumers currently think they will be represented during the negotiations and this must be addressed.

A vast range of consumer rights, safety and quality standards, and enforcement regimes is founded in EU legislation. These rights and safeguards are woven into our everyday lives, and can often be taken for granted. They range from having access to a basic bank account, assurances that food and electrical products are safe, to seeking redress when buying products across borders.

It is therefore vital that core consumer rights and protections do not fall by the wayside during discussions to leave the EU, any future trade deals with the EU and other countries, as well as in our future domestic framework. This will safeguard UK consumers from any potentially negative effects of Brexit, while taking advantage of and maximising any opportunities.

We are calling for a cross-Government high-level working group focused solely on securing the best possible deal for UK consumers. This is imperative for the economy and our communities, and we are ready and willing to help you achieve this.

Yours Sincerely,

Gillian Guy
Chief Executive, Citizens Advice

Martin Lewis
Founder, Moneysavingexpert

Peter Vicary-Smith
Chief Executive, Which?

Your view

Are you confident that the Government can protect your consumer rights in the Brexit negotiations? What protections would you like to see for consumers?

This letter has been printed in The Times today on page seven and a copy of the signed letter can be seen here.

Clive R Sneddon says:
30 March 2017

However we as individuals voted, no one had got round to thinking through the nitty-gritty of what Brexit would mean. I support retaining all existing protections for consumers, and these protections need to be international given how many goods cross frontiers. If this means we need to stay in the Single Market, so be it. If we want our relationship to stay as it is, as the Prime Minister says, why leave? No divorce ever secures the same relationship as before.

leslie Dawes says:
30 March 2017

I am very concerned about the use of the terms, ‘democratic’ and ‘the will of the people’ when applied to the Brexit process. 1) For a referendum to be called on such an important constitutional issue, it needed to be qualified and require at least 70% for change. 2) Only 37% of those eligible to vote, voted to leave. The majority either voted to remain or, did not vote at all. To call this a majority is a travesty. The news media have said nothing about this and have towed the Brexit line. ‘We are leaving and the matter is closed’. Allowing a referendum to be carried in this way are the actions of dictatorships.

Christine Peet says:
30 March 2017

I could not have expressed it better myself. I think it is the worst thing that has happened to the country in my lifetime. I don’t think I will ever stop being angry about it. It was won on lies and lost on complacency. I was so concerned at the time that at 70 years of age I took to the streets campaigning for Remain. Now the best we can do is fight to protect our long cherished rights. Consumer rights must be protected: they are both a fabric and a safeguard of society .

Catherine Mason says:
30 March 2017

The majority of people that bothered to vote, voted to leave. Get over it and move on.

r.carroll says:
30 March 2017

[Sorry, this comment has been removed for being off-topic. Check our our Community Guidelines for more info. Thanks, mods]


Everyone of age had a chance to vote. The fact that a lot of people couldn’t be bothered is a fact that you will have to get over.
This is also true of General Elections where at the 2015 election 30m people voted which represented a 66% turnout so approx 10m people didn’t bother to vote but by the rules of the British Constitution the Tories gained an overall majority of MPs so ended up as the ruling party with about only 37% of the total votes cast but no one doubts the validity of that.
In the Referendum the turnout was 72% so the vote for exit was more valid than the General Election.
The only way that people like you will be unable to moan is if we had a legal responsibility to vote as in some countries so as I said before, you will just have to get over it.
Who knows, you may even be pleasantly surprised in due course !!

angie says:
31 March 2017

It is so strange that no-one in government picked this up, particularly remainers. However was it allowed to go through on a simple majority, makes my blood boil! Wasn’t the 1975 vote required to have a 2/3 majority? Think of all the time now being spent on these long-winded and complex negotiations which could have been spent on our urgent issues – NHS; social care, etc etc. We could also have been putting some time and effort into how to make the EU mechanisms fairer and more compatible with the needs of our country, after Cameron’s failure at doing so. We wouldn’t even be spending our time on this forum discussing consumer rights at all. Too late for all this, I know. I’m in mourning,

Allen Playfair says:
31 March 2017

You didn’t, why should we?

Young people overwhelmingly wanted to stay in, so when they are more of them than us oldies they will probably apply to rejoin.

Lynda Hookins says:
31 March 2017

Well said Alex ..I totally agree ..Thank you

Brian H says:
31 March 2017

You have forgotten that large areas of the UK voted to stay in the UK ( eg Scotland and London )
yet the result will affect the whole country for EVER. Not like a general election when people have an opportunity to change there views after a set period of time. For this type of fundamental and far -reaching change to our country ,it should have required a much larger gap between the remain and leave votes for it to be implemented.


That’s right, and in the case of Scotland, independence from the rest of the UK would only be viable if the UK remained in the EU so that must have had an influence on the Referendum voting in Scotland.

I don’t know why, but I don’t think the need to have a voting threshold for leaving the EU was given any serious consideration.

I also do not recall any concern about All In or All Out being expressed in the run up to the Referendum. I wonder if that would have been an issue if the overall result had been to remain; it would have been completely unworkable so the same should apply in reverse.

Once you start trying to split a plebiscite along geographical, demographic or other divisive lines problems ensue. If anything, the recent experience should be a warning against trying to govern by asking the people!

The Fixed Term Parliament Act has added another complication. There have been calls for the government to go to the country for a new mandate by holding a ‘snap’ general election. To do that either the government would have to rig a motion of no confidence in itself [is that politically conscionable while it still has a majority in the House?] or a two-thirds majority of the Commons would have to vote the government out [and the arithmetic would not support that either].

John Peebles says:
1 April 2017

As an 83 year old I have never missed voting at either General or Local elections. This is a right that all Citizens have and should use, if they do not then they have no complaint. I did vote for the common market. However like everyone else in the UK we were not given any choice into a political alliance as we now have. This is now nothing more than an European dictapership, the very thing that we fought against in both 1914 and 1939. I voted leave with a hard Brextic.