/ Home & Energy, Money

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.

Sir,

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
Which?

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?

Comments
Valerie Bradley says:
7 July 2017

Consumers definitely should have a say when it comes to Brexit negotiations. Our voices must be heard. This is the second most important thing to happen in the last 70+ years; the first was the referendum on whether or not to join the Common Market where the voters were sold down the river because the question was a loaded one skewed to the wishes of Ted Heath and the like. It was NOT a vote to join the fledgling European Union. I was born in 1939 so know well what this country of ours was like before we were forced to accept the loss of our identity. Don’t let it happen again please.

In full favour of your comments. I am 72 and remember what made us great. We led the world in so many things, why are so many frightened of what will become of us. We were a wonderful nation. We invented, manufactured and sold with ease and pride. Why can we not do this again. With all balls in the right court, there is no reason why not. I still have faith in Great Britain. Young people must be forgiven for being cautious, but this is because they have no understanding of what went before. All they hear is the downside, of which there was not a lot compared with today. We taught so many countries (before joining the EU), so many things and were greatly respected. Why can we not do this again? I welcome the thoughts from disgruntled, undemocratic and, perhaps, unpatriotic 70+ year olds, who have been through the mill and come out the other side. We, as a family. were not well off. I went to a secondary modern school, my Mum worked in a shop and my dad worked at Hammersmith waterboard, Heathrow Airport, ran and offlicence and had various other ordinary jobs, so we were just normal run-of the-mill people, but we were proud to be British, worked hard and survived everything. And IT WORKED. So, don’t be worried about what will befall us, we will be fine, we always have been.

Yes we agree things were well run then with no bbc adverse comments

I totally agree with the sentiments expressed by Valerie Bradley and L. Hughes . My father and his two brothers along with millions of other Britons, supported by the entire British nation –
and the British Empire and Commonwealth – fought for this country during the last war. They were fighting an evil tyranny, imposed by force of arms on Europe by Germany, which threatened our freedom, independence, right to self-government, and very existence as a nation with our own distinct identity . We paid a heavy price in blood for this freedom. In 1975, when I applied to join a prestigious regiment of the Territorial Army, I was required to give my reasons for wishing to do so in writing. I wrote, ‘If the country’s worth living in, it’s worth fighting for.’ This view motivated me to join the campaign against British membership of the ‘Common Market’ during the referendum that year. Subsequently it resulted in me joining U.K.I.P. as an activist in 1999. I’m not interested in whether or not Brexit might result in my being financially worse off than I might possibly be within an economically sclerotic , inward -looking customs union where (formerly) Great Britain will inevitably be outvoted 27 – 1 in ‘negotiations’ regarding the country’s future association with the E.U. by other member states determined to keep their tottering economies afloat at our expense. ‘We want our country back!’ Anyone who voted to sell their birthright for an E.U. ‘Mess of ‘potage’, supposedly on behalf of their ‘snowflake’, Corbyn – supporting progeny really ought to go along to their town’s war memorial and tell those listed on it that they were wrong to have fought and died for their country’s freedom. It goes without saying that the former are Euro- Quislings, not worthy of the latter’s sacrifice.
Peter Gleave (ex- Berks. and Westminster Dragoons 1975 – 1982)
‘Take these men for your example; like them, remember that prosperity can only be for the free; that freedom is the sure possession of those, alone, who have the courage to defend it.’
– from Pericles’ Oration to the Athenian Dead’ (History of the Peloponnesian Wars – Thyucidides)

Elaine Fullaway says:
8 July 2017

Consumers definitely should have a say when it comes to Brexit negotiations. Our voices must be heard. This is the second most important thing to happen in the last 70+ years; the first was the referendum on whether or not to join the Common Market where the voters were sold down the river because the question was a loaded one skewed to the wishes of Ted Heath and the like. It was NOT a vote to join the fledgling European Union. I was born in 1939 so know well what this country of ours was like before we were forced to accept the loss of our identity. Don’t let it happen again please.

Fiona Chesterman says:
8 July 2017

Dear L Hughes, I m aware that while this forum is not set up to be a general discussion on the merits or not of Brexit, and I respect your opinions as being your opinions, but I feel compelled to respond to your comments about your perception of young people needing to be forgiven for being cautious. I don’t know any who could be described as cautious. Furious yes. Furious that the world that they have been born into where they live in a much bigger picture than just their home country, where their friends are of all nationalities and religions, live, study and work all over the world embracing other languages, is to be compromised. I don’t think they could be described as ‘cautious’.

I agree that we should say in all that goes before us in discussing matters concerning the country. These matters will have effects on families. When it comes down to the nitty-gritty of increases, there should be a public vote on a general increase for ALL – ie pensions/wages MUST keep up with inflation, after all, MPs gave themselves a whopping increase, therefore what is good enough for Peter is good enough for Paul – monies must rise with inflation.

Nobody could say that pensions haven’t kept up with inflation over these last few years, Barbara – the ‘triple lock’ has seen to that. It is wages and certain welfare benefits that have fallen behind, Disposable incomes have marginally increased as taxes have been reallocated from direct to indirect forms [for example, tax allowances have been raised but some customs duties and the insurance premium tax have increased].

I completely agree we must have control over,our own destiny and safeguard the future of our country my dad as did thousands of others fought for our freedom now we are trying again to get our freedom it seems it needs all the help it can get .

They are trying to kick it about till they lose it out is out protect the con sumer they are the people

It seems to me that, we, the people are at the back of the queue yet again. So much in fighting amongst the political establishment that we will end up with nothing to show for our votes’ It will be a total shambles if our (the peoples representatives) are not at the table from the beginning, all the way through to the last full stop on the last page.

No-one was explained the whole situation with brexit. Hospitals which are in a terrible state will be even worse as well as the tubes as many people over here want to do that kind of work. regards Hellen Gripaios

that’s because we let any tom dick or harry into our country allow them to reap the benefits our our country, only to go back home and give nothing back, u try going to a foreign country an ask for free Dental or see a doctor or treatment u will have to pay

While we appreciate that this is an emotive subject, please could you stick to commenting about consumer needs in the Brexit negotiations. Thanks

I was born in 1943 and I am one of the oldies who voted REMAIN because I could see , from what was said, that BREXIT was going to be a costly journey for the UK and the likelihood is I will be dead before we are out of the quagmire. It annoys me when I hear young people blaming the oldies for the horror that is unfolding because I am not wealthy and worked hard for the little I have.
Yours, in dire straits,
ARDL.

Yesterday, Poland’s President Duda said that it isn’t just Governments like those of Poland and the USA “giving the green light” to bilateral arrangements, it’s the businesses of those countries who must get on with making contracts with each other. He is discussing a “gas hub” to take gas from USA who will soon be a major exporter. Why is President Trump looking to Poland ? Why not Britain ? Where is PM May in these tradings ? If USA’s leader and businesses can strike deals with individual EU countries & their businesses, so can Britain. It isn’t JUST about “having your say”; it’s about kicking our politicians and business captains to get out there, negotiate , and get things DONE. Hard. Or has their dismal joint flop over the poor people in Grenfell Tower shown what they are made of ? Talk. No “Can Do”. No Do. No more substance than the Cheshire Cat’s smile. Let’s stop electing such ghosts, and get people in who DO listen to and act for us consumers. Email your MP and tell him/her that THAT’s what YOU want DONE. Please.
RJS, London W5

because for one trump wants to bring more Jobs back to america, and since poland has been dealing with russia, trump has offered poland clean gas , i’m from south wales uk, i love trump, the guy got ball’s , mabie britain where asking too much, who knows Dr R J stansfield

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You do know he tells lots of lies, Duncan?

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No, Duncan; I don’t mean the policies. I’m talking about his claiming to have passed more legislation in his first hundred days than any other US President. At the time he said that he hadn’t passed anything. That was a lie. I do have many other examples, the size of the inauguration crowd being just one.

And there’s no conspiracy, Duncan; it’s that most people can’t quite comprehend how someone so obviously unfit for office could be elected.

“You do know he tells lots of lies, Duncan?”

Gosh!

Just like all them other politicians then… 🙁

“…the size of the inauguration crowd being just one.”

…and Trump claimed it was millions 😉

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Duncan: this is drifting well off topic. If you’d care to copy your post – which is almost totally wrong in every major aspect – to the Lobby, I’ll be happy to continue in there.

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Lobby, Duncan – not here. I’ll be pleased to explain why I said that over there.

well said ian, more then any man that became president he done more then obama’s 8 year turn diden’t he? lol

yep i do know theirs more to it, i can see it in black an white , where most people can’t see S**t
Quick enough to judge or have their say online, Yet to braindead to do some Real research and check online from “Multiple” Resources

Nick says:
9 July 2017

Do you really think that anything from the trunt’s mouth will actually happen? Why Poland? Could have been anywhere he knows nothing about!

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Personally, Duncan I cannot see anything wrong with the US President seeking to export more American gas to Europe, if that is indeed what he is saying – I have lost the thread of this discussion somewhere along the line.

At the moment the UK gets a significant amount of its natural gas from Libya and other parts of the Middle-East. I know who I would prefer to trade with for reliability of supply and immunity from being held to ransom.

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Due to the conflict with those who wished to subjugate with their ideologies that conflicted with our higher values of life i very seldom saw my Father during the war depriving us both of what should have been natural parent child love and family life.
We had to shelter many nights under the stairs afraid that the bombers were going to hit us. Thank god we survived.
Life was a struggle in the post war years but we survived.
We had a Labour government that plundered the wealth, what little we had, of the country be we were able through a democratic procedure to remove them,
WE had further austerity but we survived.
We were given an option to join the european union falsely presented to us but through democracy we were able to remove Ted Heath and his odious ways and later we were presented with Blair lies and falsehoods who strove to further integrate us into Europe.
Through democracy we were fortunate to remove him.
As regards to Europe we have lost our right to rule ourselves but are governed bu unelected eurocrats riding on one of the richest gravy trains in the world and as a member we can d nothing about it.
Kinnock, Blair, Mandleson et al whilst sitting in ivory towers drawing a million a more annually in salaries and perks annually who do not know what it is like to have a J O B consider themselves superior to us would do anything to reverse our voices so they can stay with their chums whilst we sheeple have to continue to work to pay for their fat lives.
Just too damn right the ordinary people who voted to leave should have a say in the negotiations over Brexit

I am uncertain what Peter means in his letter to David Davis. Yes consumers will have to pay any bills but in order for Which to have a voice in any Forum it needs to explicitly declare whether it has a policy to be in favour or against leaving the EU. Specifically whether on leaving the EU the Internal Market [the single market], customs union, will be extinguished. That we are not subservient to the ECJ and we are in control of our own laws and regulations affecting standards for the production and marketing of products and services. Also in control of immigration and our borders

The 17.4m who voted to LEAVE the EU need to know that Which is representing them. Recent opinion polls demonstrate that would be the same result if a referendum was carried out now

In other words has WHICH got a mandate

Just to say i absolutely agree with L Hughes that is the main reason i voted out of the eu in hopes this country would revert back to when it was truly great we led the world in steel industry ship building mechanical and civil engineering education health care. etc so a cheer for L Hughes .

Which should apply to give evidence to the relevant select committees of both houses of parliament as soon as they are reconstituted.

Alice Lee-Thornton says:
7 July 2017

I note that this discussion went round the mulberry bush via the USofA but eventually came back again! I voted to remain since there was clearly no Plan B. Pro- Brexiters were fed a persuasive diet of lies and Xenophobia, the master-chef being N. Farage.
However, since nearly 50% of us have to accept the inevitable, we consumers certainly need a voice. After all, we are the ones who have to underwrite the expensive mess that the govt. has got us into. God forbid that the richest 1% should suffer in any way.
PS At nearly 80, I remember better times too! Shall we be “great again”?? Not while we’re the laughing-stock of the world!

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Yes I think it is essential that the consumer is properly represented during the Brexit discussions and I support WHICH being involved. I am concerned that the understanding of the word “negotiate” is realistically shared across Europe. What happens if we do not achieve a satisfactory settlement?

JC says:
7 July 2017

What was the original question?

Doug Ward says:
7 July 2017

I voted no at the very beginning.
I voted to stay in the second.
Yes “WHICH” should be representing the ORDINARY PEOPLE!
I believe in our DEMOCRACY.
What should be happening we all should know what our Government is planning!
This is not a CARD GAME OR RUSSIAN REULET!
THIS IS ALL OUR LIVES THIS TORY GOVERNMENT IS PLAYING WITH all parties should be involved in negotiations!

Doug, I agree with your comments. Brexit has developed into an economic war so it would be sensible to have a government coalition as was the case during WW2. There is no place for UK political party rivalry when there is a economic war on.

I agree, Dave. We need to pull together at a difficult time and political allegiance can bring out the worst in people.

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I would have preferred all parties to have had an input in our departure from Europe. It’s high time we had proportional representation, but for the time being we will have to make do with a minority government.

The Scottish Nationalist Party’s success at the 2015 election altered the arithmetic of the House of Commons and, notwithstanding some losses at the 2017 election, it is still a major bloc, so minority government by the party with the highest number of seats could become the norm, and coalitions by name or function will become necessary. Not very strong and stable perhaps but it does have the advantage of restraining the extreme elements in a party [unless self-destruction is their intention] and tending towards a more moderate form of government. This, however, as we have already seen, can lead to weakness and an unadventurous legislative programme. I think the present situation will go down in history as one of the biggest political blunders of all time. The PM has ended up with none of the things she wanted, most of the things she didn’t want, wasted some good MP’s in the process, and now goes naked into the chambers of Europe. I am not a doom monger by inclination but I cannot see this as sustainable. The UK now presents a despicable posture propped up by the oily hand of Donald Trump [and we all know where that has been].

I understand and share your concerns, John, but for the sake of stability in an uncertain time, the last thing we need is for the ‘extreme elements’ to command attention of the public.

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I find it difficult to relate to politics, Duncan. It has been decided that we should leave Europe, but we are reliant on many politicians who were opposed to this and we have to hope that they will act in the best interests of the country.

​Is the Nasty EUSSR Parliament representative of you​?

I’ve not heard of the Nasty EUSSR Parliament – where does it operate?

But back on topic – in my experience – including the lobbying of MEPs, the European Parliament has done a good enough job as a representative body.

However, the European Commission is another story…

Due to the conflict with those who wished to subjugate with their ideologies that conflicted with our higher values of life i very seldom saw my Father during the war depriving us both of what should have been natural parent child love and family life.
We had to shelter many nights under the stairs afraid that the bombers were going to hit us. Thank god we survived.
Life was a struggle in the post war years but we survived.
We had a Labour government that plundered the wealth, what little we had, of the country be we were able through a democratic procedure to remove them,
WE had further austerity but we survived.
We were given an option to join the european union falsely presented to us but through democracy we were able to remove Ted Heath and his odious ways and later we were presented with Blair lies and falsehoods who strove to further integrate us into Europe.
Through democracy we were fortunate to remove him.
As regards to Europe we have lost our right to rule ourselves but are governed bu unelected eurocrats riding on one of the richest gravy trains in the world and as a member we can d nothing about it.
Those odious creatures, Kinnock, Blair, Mandleson et al whilst sitting in ivory towers drawing a million a more annually in salaries and perks annually who do not know what it is like to have a J O B consider themselves superior to us would do anything to reverse our voices so they can stay with their chums whilst we sheeple have to continue to work to pay for their fat lives.
Just too damn right the ordinary people who voted to leave should have a say in the negotiations over Brexit

Norman Hawkins says:Today 17:34
Due to the conflict with those who wished to subjugate with their ideologies that conflicted with our higher values of life i very seldom saw my Father during the war depriving us both of what should have been natural parent child love and family life.
We had to shelter many nights under the stairs afraid that the bombers were going to hit us. Thank god we survived.
Life was a struggle in the post war years but we survived.
We had a Labour government that plundered the wealth, what little we had, of the country be we were able through a democratic procedure to remove them,
WE had further austerity but we survived.
We were given an option to join the european union falsely presented to us but through democracy we were able to remove Ted Heath and his odious ways and later we were presented with Blair lies and falsehoods who strove to further integrate us into Europe.
Through democracy we were fortunate to remove him.
As regards to Europe we have lost our right to rule ourselves but are governed bu unelected eurocrats riding on one of the richest gravy trains in the world and as a member we can d nothing about it.
Kinnock, Blair, Mandleson et al whilst sitting in ivory towers drawing a million a more annually in salaries and perks annually who do not know what it is like to have a J O B consider themselves superior to us would do anything to reverse our voices so they can stay with their chums whilst we sheeple have to continue to work to pay for their fat lives.
Just too damn right the ordinary people who voted to leave should have a say in the negotiations over Brexit