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Brexit: consumer needs must be front and centre

Brexit westminster

Plans for the UK’s departure from the European Union are now underway. While the government is setting up an all-business forum to consider the needs of the economy, we’re concerned the voice of consumers isn’t being heard.

Writing in The Times today, I’ve again pressed for David Davis, as the reappointed Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union, to consider the important role consumers should play in the Brexit negotiations.


During the financial crisis of 2009, Which? established the Future of Banking Commission to give consumers, who had been ignored despite paying the price in bailouts and austerity measures, a voice at the heart of the debate. That Commission was chaired by David Davis MP.

Today, eight years on, Mr Davis has created a business forum designed to ensure that the Government’s negotiating position on Brexit reflects the needs of the economy. However, the voice of consumers, who not only voted for Brexit but will also pay the bills and feel the effects, is once again missing despite the fact that consumer confidence is what is keeping our economy growing.

Mr Davis now has the opportunity to remember the vision that led him to produce that important report on banking. To ensure consumer needs are front and centre in the negotiations, he should now invite consumer representatives, such as Which?, to join this critical forum.

Peter Vicary-Smith
Chief Executive

Have your say

Do you think that consumers are being appropriately represented in the Brexit negotiations? Should Which? and other consumer representatives have a role in this business forum?

Bridgit A Sam-Bailey says:
7 July 2017

We should be front, centre, and end of the debate We must never be forgotten or short-changed.

Brexit is the biggest mistake we as a nation can make. Now the lies of Farage, Johnson, Davis and Co have been exposed, to those that could not see through them, the mood of the country has changed Yet the left wing Labour rebel and the right wing PM seem to have joined together in this madness and are ignoring the new mood of the country and it’s people putting the future for our young is at risk. I witness first hand the decline of at first our motor cycle and car industries to be followed by most of the remaining backbone of this countries manufacturing. This through lack of investment and mainly under Tory government’s (and yes the unions also contributed to the decline). Brexit will see the decline again of the new not British owned car and other industries. as they are only here to supply the EU and are likely to be not cost effective after the split. We must stop this madness now.

haven’t u noticed all the major company’s are being bought out by foreign interest how the Young has no hope in buying a house or having a future with zero hour contracts the government par’s us off stating their is tons of job because of these contracts, u cannot plan for the future, your living by your phone ,
i’m sorry bryan White,
if u Actually stopped watching that trash u see on the news, and do some actual research Online, from Multiple sources u would see 1+1 is not 5

Maureen Miles says:
7 July 2017

I am old enough to have known food rationing, being bombed out in Plymouth and having nothing and in those days there were no hand outs. Also lived while people who hated to see telegrams because it mean’s a loved one had been killed fighting for not only our countries freedom but also helping European countries their freedom back. We were a country that believed all countries should have their freedom and the right to rule themselves, men didn’t fight to take over countries but to FREE THEM. But we all voted for a single market, what we didn’t vote for was for a silent war that would take our freedom away, destroy our country and land us with people who hate us and want to destroy everything we believe and take away our way of living. We are paying money to the EU that should never be paid because we could have arranged a single market with leaders of all countries without paying Billions to Brussels. Wanting our country back and the right to control our borders should be a normal thing to do and the right thing to do. Immigrants were people who ask to come to our country if they are in danger in theirs, and have stayed within their countries laws and are vetted, and checked medically before entering. They are not immigrants when they come to a country to destroy its people and it’s culture, that is why I voted Brexit. We are capable of becoming a Democratic country again with a right to live our lives in peace the way we did before Brussels. Brussels in nothing but a money hungry grabbing group of people who are after taking away all European countries freedoms and rights to rule themselves. Brussels is the silent war to take over by destroying all that we hold dear. Its Brussels that needs to be destroyed and allowing all the countries to again have their freedom back, and that can be done by withholding all monies from them. WE WANT OUR FREEDOM BACK.

Gael Bage says:
7 July 2017

We voted to LEAVE and some politicians seem able to ignore democracy, we did not vote for a soft Brexit – which is political speak for staying in the E U. It is high time they had more respect for democracy and consumers.

Some set off to sea or up mountains with little preparation and if they are lucky they may be rescued. Fortunately there are those who recognise that our exit from the EU must be carefully planned for our longer term benefit.

David Davis is an experienced politician capable of getting us a good deal. But on the whole our politicians are considered weak and easily intimidated by some EU politicians like Germany’s Angela Mercer and especially by unelected bureaucrats who are all so eager to put down Britain who dare to walk out on EU. Unfortunately our PM has lost her authority, her charm and it seems her desire to carry on in this tough job after humiliating result when Tories lost their overall majority. Britain is indeed going through a troubled time and many feel that perhaps Brexit may never happen, especially if the negotiations drag on and we have a Labour government.

It was the consumers who voted for Brexit, therefore they should be at the heart of the negotiations, what is required by the brexitiers is to exit the single market, take control of the borders, self rule, anything less is a betrayal.

Hilary Bowcher-Royce says:
7 July 2017

I was born in 1951 so grew up hearing many things about the wars (this comment follows many above re the war). Austerity was obvious at that time but everyone was happier than they are now even though I feel positivity in thinking has become easier to take onboard. I really do feel that we were happier before we were in the EU and 100% believe that we should leave The original idea was supposed to be about easier trading and subsidies for struggling farmers, I grew up in and have now returned to Devon and farming has taken a serious nose-dive – nothing like it was before. What we actually ended up with is someone who isn’t even English TELLING us what we can do – how is that EVER easier democratic trading!!?

So sad to see how ill-informed we remain on what almost everyone agrees is a huge and monumental change for us. I see so many comments based upon nationalism and rose tinted glasses, referring to a past which was not quite as good in reality as the memory may suggest.

King Canute tried to hold back the waves and failed. We are in danger of repeating that error.

This is a new world – it has many faults and huge levels of injustice but it will not change until we realise that we are all part of the same species and and form together to meet the real challenges that face us. Our country, I am afraid, has just embarked upon a course of action which takes us in the opposite direction and will marginalise us and remove any benign influence upon the world which we may have had.

I can cope because I am older, but I do fear deeply for my children and grandchildren. This move is just too big and too important to leave to the politicians alone. It isn’t solely about business or consumer power there is a huge social impact too.

We need to be heard regardless of view or political bias.

King Canute didn’t fail, Earnest. He set out to prove that it was impossible to turn back the tide – and he succeeded.

The electorate have only themselves to blame. Those who voted exit left common-sense behind as they entered the polling booth. They are hardly people who would qualify to negotiate the purchase of a burger let alone an exit from a huge multinational combine. Much better to campaign for a rerun of the referendum and wisdom prevail.

Im getting on a bit But i voted to stop in,as in anything you want some kind of certainties for the future The EU is far from being perfect but they are still a force to be reckoned with its size The whole political Brexit vote was built on big lies from both camps just to frighten everyone Now we have to rely on those same people to negotiate a good deal when we leave We desperately need some honest people within this camp to tell us the truth ,to fight for ALL our futures outside the EU I fear if these end up badly for the us it will mean a more uncertain future for our children and their children
When i see what this great nation has done and given to the world and is still doing It make me sad to think that in the great scheme of things we might have less standing in the world, as the onus these days is on bigger is better ie China India US
I love this country i dont want to see it fade in to insignificance
I also think that the EU are hell bent on making an example of us just in case some other countries have the same idea as us Wouldnt it be great if another country had the same will as ours
Did you see the documentary for the leadership of the Conservative party between Boris Johnson and Thereas May Michael Grove Well God help us if this is the calibre of people we are are now relying on for our future

pete says:
7 July 2017

I voted to stay in the EU, but have to abide by our democratic laws. I do believe that no matter which way the vote went, we were stuffed anyway! So, in order to get the best survival package, we, the consumers, need to be represented by someone who cares about us. Go for it Which?

The majority voted to get out of the corrupt EU and to be responsible for our own laws, borders and immigration. No DEAL is better than any deal or a deal where we are tied in some way to Brussels.

Tony W says:
7 July 2017

The campaign should be to stop Brexit before anymore damage is done.

Johnny says:
7 July 2017

So far as I can see brexit is all cost for no gain, Art. 50 should be withdrawn now.

yes it’s going to cost us allot, but Frankly i don’g give a dam, the way the eu is going at the moment more and more things are getting expensive Think of it like this, each year the tax on most items goes up correct?, and wage increase goes up every 4+ years, like 20p on the £?, within -10 years we should see real change

so as u can see where losing so much, when u ask the government or the council we need new Roads, ect, ukno what they say? we dont have any money the list goes on and on, with the lies, yet where taxes more and more each year

Ps sorry for the double post, couldn’t see an Edit option

Cliff Williamson says:
7 July 2017

This is not just about what the tory party off shore non dom’s and backers want. It’s all about what the people of this country voted for, so much more representation is needed to create a proper balance of opinion.

Martyn Marsh says:
7 July 2017

We must all accept now that the UK is leaving the EU (yes I’m a leaver) & I must confess at my annoyance at those who are hell bent on de-railing our exit. We had a democratic vote & many people came out to vote who had either never voted, just felt that they had been betrayed by the political class or felt this time their vote would count. However, as consumers it is important that we are represented as we are the ones at the end of the line who buy the goods & services. I think I speak for many that they feel the Brexit process is in danger of becoming a car crash due to the recent & unnecessary general election. I strongly feel that we should not hang around for two years before we start trade negotiations with other countries. The main Commonwealth country’s have sent trade delegations here to start trade talks. The EU has a number of huge problems that we will be unaffected by. The failed euro crisis has not gone away, the migrant crisis has not gone away or has I put merkel ‘s mess & growing tensions with the Eastern block countries. Now, many of the young keep on about how they have been betrayed & that the older generation sold them out & all these stupid shame on you demonstrations. Well, I have a message for them ‘shame on you’ for not respecting democracy & ‘shame on you’ for not getting out their to campaign for your side. I was in town centres & I asked young people were they going to vote because as I said to them don’t leave it to me. 99% of the answers were ‘can’t be bothered’ ‘not interested’. I worked for Leave, Go, Labour Out & Trades Unions against the EU & believe me some of the language they used if UKIP had of used would have been smashed all over the BBC. So yes change is coming but we now all need to pull together & get the best deal.

Ron Dunn says:
7 July 2017

Regardless of which way you voted or what you believe Too few people are now behind brexit and at the first few stumbling blocks the whole thing will be shouted down for the shambles it is. Without a large majority behind brexit it can never succeed.

Sharing with others so they will share with YOU.
LUV thy bro/sis as thy self.
Do NOT step on others just to get more CASH!!!

Doug says:
7 July 2017

Having been born in 1931 ,and living in Birmingham, I well remember the 2nd World War and the subsequent after war experiences. As a 17 year old, I joined the RN and served my time in a number of HM ships, then proceeded to travel the world as a Company Rep. for 30 years. This I feel gave me some appreciation of the interaction between people from differing backgrounds and resulted in my early involvement with the UKIP movement. The changes to my homeland over this period have been dramatic and sickening. We have been failed by a series of politicians , most of whom I would not employ in any position
I can now only hope for the basic sanity of the British people to reject the weakness around them and to stand and fight for independence and self control.

I lived through WW2 and of course had a life before the EU when reluctantly, General De Gaulle allowed the UK to join Common Market, prior to joining I exported from our company its products worldwide which included of course Europe through the European Free Trade Association. EFTA, without any problems.
Prior to our membership to the EU, I attended an ‘exporting to the EU’ course sponsored by the Department of trade & industry , after about twenty minuted of Do’s n Don’ts in exporting to the EU I recall the tutor saying “But not too worry once we were in the EU we will change things,” (which was probably why De Gaulle didn’t welcome the thought of the UK joining) , well that didn’t happen and we ended in a virtual a dictatorship,
However the British public has now triggered off a move back to sanity and us being in control of our own destiny, we were then as now a successful and innovative country exporting all over the world and enjoying the import/export trade with our Commonwealth countries and of course Europe and we will again.
One of the best things as far as I am concerned to come the European experience, being a part time student HNC) at the time, was the metric system , something that all students now take for granted , no rods poles n perches or feet hands inches and probably elbows, just the beautiful ’10’
I think it a must, that every one, for or against leaving the EU listens to the excellent speech give by Steven Woolfe, which to me says it all: https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=594064255