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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.

Comments
Gail Rogers says:
2 April 2017

Let the government get on with getting us out of the E.U. A.S.A.P. and i believe as a Great Country we will be better off.

Mike Flemming says:
2 April 2017

Who the hell are the EU to dictate to US that we HAVE to ‘bend the knee’ to them and suffer whatever financial punishments BEFORE they start trade negotiations with US as relates to trade deals??? It’s like giving them a blank cheque…. Let’s do it the other way…. as far as the EU is concerned the UK imports far more goods and service from them than we export to them.

[Sorry, your comment has been edited as it breached our Community Guidelines https://conversation.which.co.uk/commenting-guidelines/. Thanks, mods.]

Andrew Simpson says:
2 April 2017

“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.”

I would urge you and all interested groups to continue to press for a seat at the table. So far, I have seen no sign of the present government wishing to offer its citizens any opportunity to contribute to the process of negotiation.

Paradoxically, the much proclaimed “will of the people” now reduces to the people having to accept whatever deal is struck, essentially, by the Conservative Party currently in government.

Andrew Simpson, may I ask who are we ? Back to the old problem. Are you biased politically or union orientated, in receipt of a pension from the European union where you cannot critisise them or employed in a job that relies on the largesse of government money, being paid by taxpayers. Once again I thought this was about consumer rights.

Spanish Foreign Minister- Spain could veto Brexit deal on Gibraltar -reply from ex Tory leader Lord Howard- Britain would show “the same resolve ” over Gibraltar as MT did over the Falklands. Sir Michael Fallon -DS- the UK is prepared to “go all the way ” to protect Gibraltar– now thats the words I like to hear, as a British nationalist in my protection of this country and its values. Reply from Spain (in a huff ) right then we withdraw any opposition to Scotland joining the EU , if it votes for independence –so there ! (latest news ) Spanish Armada MK2 ?

Oh yes; Lord Howard who doesn’t know how to answer a question truthfully after 14 attempts.

And the Defence Secretary Ian ?

I just want to see the silly posturing stop and hopefully get on with grown up negotiations and solutions. It’s always the innocent who suffer most when those behind desks adopt a belligerent attitude. Time we learned that lesson.

None of this will help consumers. Spending less on the military and more on social care and potholes might.

Malcolm’s right: it’s simply silly posturing – almost like kids in a playground. But then, Secretaries of State are not normally picked for their intellect and experience, as some are clearly demonstrating at the moment.

I expect the SoS for Defence was ambushed by the military chiefs who want to put on another ‘show’ and prove that we can still rustle up a task force. The likelihood of one NATO member going into battle against another is pretty remote but it would be an interesting game, in the context of history, to see who would ally with whom. I think we’d be largely on our own!

Mick Bastable says:
3 April 2017

The ‘remainers’, scaremongers and most idiot politicians are making a real dogs breakfast of what will happen to our rights and laws after Brexit. Just because we leave the Brussels club does not mean that we cannot continue to uphold all EU legislation until such times as our politicians have the time, through committees to revue EU regulations in force and change or abolish as we see fit. We are merely regaining control of our own destiny and if that is too difficult a job for a politician then may I suggest you are in the wrong job. Why try and complicate what is a simple task of upholding the current law until reviewed?

He said he would do it , to great opposition abroad but he has done it- the Donald has signed by Presidential Executive Order on Establishing Enhanced Collection + Enforcement of Antidumping+countervailing Duties +Violations of Trade +Customs Laws (exact wording )-31st-2017 -.Merkel has already said-we will retaliate as will Xi Jinping . meanwhile there is speculation on a US/UK trade agreement.

DAVID BONNIE says:
11 April 2017

EON ENERGY is my chosen electrical and gas supplier.
EON is a European holding company based in Essen, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany.
After Brexit I fear my energy prices will rise due to the knock on affect of the broken Brexit German Euro economics links. This is yet another example of the knock of uncertainly caused by Brexit .
UK N-power and UK Co-operative Energy lead the list of energy suppliers increasing prices tariffs by up to 28%…The Conservative government has shown no willingness to intervene to control increases to Energy bills. The UK Energy suppliers simply can not be trusted to treat their customers fairly …
It is a sad but true fact of today’s life that it takes a German Energy Supplier to give a service that I can trust.

General election called by TM on June 8th due to the Brexit issue – to quote put an end to criticism of those against it. Is Which going to make a statement or start a convo on this as it is already doing convo,s on political issues ? I can guarantee all the other public help/ debating /social groupings websites that I get emails from to vote on issues will be debating this issue and gathering opinions .

I doubt a general election will put an end to the differences of opinion on Brexit. Hopefully, however, it will produce a government with a workable majority that can just get on with the job of getting the best deal possible without others trying to score points. Maybe after the deal is concluded initially we could have another general election to precede a Scottish referendum? 🙂

This all assumes the world has not come to a thermonuclear end with the posturing from other “politicians”. There comes a time when the consequences of decisions need to take precedence. 🙁

She isn’t calling it to “put an end to the differences of opinion on Brexit.” She’s calling it to try to get a massive majority for the Tories which will effectively emasculate those on her own back benches who have been causing her some trouble with their already slender majority. And, given the inaccuracy of recent polling predictions, who knows what will happen?

Thank God , you at least malcolm have “looked out of your window ” at international events and seen what I have been shouting about on many websites for years ( and getting attacked for it ) .Never in my life have I seen a country or mass media stick their heads in the sand and keep the truth from the British public but give out-fake news-false flags and a whole lot more I cant post . Even Churchill had the grace to tell the British public , Look at this practically – down to earth- do you see the British forces beating Russia ? what I see is the UK flattened while those in charge survive down secret tunnels. How far does the “stiff upper lip ” extent -to annihilation . Our ex friend in NI will survive he has all the basic facilities needed.

Frank Butler says:
21 April 2017

I haven’t time to read all of the submitted comments but would just add this. Anybody who really knows how serious negotiations have to be conducted is aware that you cannot do it publicly. All those who call for more open debate are either seeking to get some publicity from it or are disgruntled ‘remainers’ who still hope to avoid Brexit. If you really want the country to get the best possible deal with the EU then leave those who have been appointed to do their job – unhindered – with the necessary secrecy. You should also ask yourself which political party do you think has the people capable of doing it properly? Leave it out, Which?

Frank your post appears upright and just but sadly reality kicks in . I am sure you have heard of TTIP a very secret get together of US Big Business and the EU , meetings were held all over Europe including this country heavily guarded on a shoot to kill basis , attack dogs, special agents , secret services , heads of state etc to SELL our independence to the USA . By that I mean US Big Business could CONTROL the British public by taking local councils to court just because they awarded contracts to local businesses or British firms and WIN !! as they did in Mexico , so if you think I will accept being ruled by a foreign country , think on ! Ask yourself -does American Law allow foreigners to dictate local policy in US States ?? not on your Nelly Duff ! In other words our votes would be worth zero therefore taking away the last vestige of democracy from this country to be rules by the BRITISH that we are . So , sorry Frank I dont agree in dictation from “secret chambers ” reminds me of a certain countries 1930,s rule of law ( or no law ) depending on how you look at it. Is this country a “Slave ” country ? To make this worse “the Donald ” has just signed an executive order so that Americans in trade deals come first , as a nation, as a people , with the losers being whoever deals with them. While this country sells itself away to foreigners , no flies on Donald . President Trump-quote -signs the Buy American , Hire American Executive Order -2.20 PM -CDT -17 th/18 th April. While Britain -its buy American – hire ??? (export abroad )

Frank, I totally agree that the initial negotiating positions must take place in private. if you openly discuss in Parliament your proposals, and therefore any new proposals if you might not achieve what you want, the other side will know exactly how to play their cards and get the best deal for themselves.

However, that does not mean a small group working on and making the deal in secret. A committee of knowledgeable people needs to continually advise and scrutinise proposals and amendments to ensure the process is carried out properly. And no leaks. Can we put a group of such people together that we can trust – civil servants, politicians, representatives from industry, public bodies? We have to. Imagine if we’d run the second world war by openly discussing our plans and tactics before launching attacks………..

Rather a chilling analogy, though.

David Gee says:
7 July 2017

We quite rightlly held the Referendum and the British Public voted to leave.. Right or wrong that was the majority decision and look at the rows that has caused. Those who wish to remain in are even demanding a second referendum – The entire process was consumers expressing their majority decision.
Exiting the E.E.C. is going to be horrendously complex.
We know that Europe WILL NOT BE GENEROUS TO THE UK. SOME MAY EVEN THINK THAT THEY NEED TO MAKE AN EXAMPLE OF US TO PREVENT OTHER COUNTRIES UNHAPPY WITH THEM. and the odds are we are going to be faced with unacceptable leaving terms and cost. It therefore follows that what is called a hard Brexit may be forced upon us. OR WE JUST LAY DOWN AND ACCEPT IT.
We have appointed a government and the narrow majority will ensure that Parliament are consulted and have their say. Thats why they are there, that is their function and why why we appointed a Parliament.
There is simply no point in complicating the process with everyone wading in with their opinions.
No One is going to be entirely happy with the outcome and the the task will be a nightmare
So why complicate it further with every Tom Dick and Harriet getting stuck in when they cannot hope to know the convolutions of the negotiations and most vote on the basis good old fashioned bigotry anyway.
It is important that their views are known but that can be done outside of the immediate decision making process.
If you feel the need to make such decisions on behalf of the nation – Get yourself elected to do so.

Michael says:
5 November 2017

Here is what i see after Brexit :THE UK GOVERNMENT LEADING THE UK AFTER BREXIT
How can the UK will be better off outside the EU governed by a Government that
1. Treats woman MPs badly
2. Covers up past Child abuse
3. Has MPs stealing expenses that they are not entitled to.
4. Serious human rights violations regarding the sick and disabled.
Ask yourself: Is that a good Government who can lead Britain to success after Brexit?
Who will they be answerable to outside the EU? To lead a country you need a decent Government with its own house in order and this is far from it.

Yes, well, the UK electorate just voted to give the present government another two years before it could be held to account. The next scheduled opportunity you will have to replace them with something more decent will be three years after we have left the EU. If you can find something more decent, that is.