/ Home & Energy

Announcing our consumer agenda for government

Whoever wins the keys to No. 10 needs to deliver positive change for UK consumers. Our consumer agenda for government sets out our priorities.

Ahead of December’s General Election, we today launched our consumer agenda for government.

It sets out the commitments that we want all political parties to make to deliver positive changes for people across the UK.

From buying products online from a global marketplace, switching energy provider on a smartphone, or making payments from a banking app, the digital revolution has delivered opportunities for wider choice, faster deliveries and enhanced personalisation.

Tackling the challenges

But it hasn’t all been good news. Fraudsters use advances in technology for sophisticated scams, unsafe products repeatedly make their way onto online marketplaces, and fake reviews take advantage of consumers’ trust in online reviews.

At the same time, the move to digital is leaving behind those who have poor mobile or broadband coverage and those who rely on cash. We also need to ensure that those who aren’t online can still get a fair deal with their day-to-day bills.

We know from research we did this summer that eight in 10 areas in the UK lack full 4G coverage from all four operators.

And our latest research – published today – has found more than 250 communities across the UK that have poor cashpoint provision or no cashpoints at all.

Parties need to commit to policies that tackle the challenges and risks posed by this transformed consumer landscape, whilst widening access to this new digital world, and not leaving behind those who aren’t ready or able to go fully online in all areas of life, such as banking and making payments.

What we want to see

We need the next government to set out an ambitious, joined-up strategy to deliver an improved digital infrastructure that guarantees a reliable online connection for everyone – whether they are at home, at work or on the move.

The next government must work with industry and regulators to guarantee access to cash for as long as it is needed. And we must ensure that those who bank online are fully protected from Authorised Push Payment (bank transfer) scams.

We have one of the strongest consumer rights frameworks in the world, but the enforcement systems that support it are broken.

That’s why we’re calling for a stronger Consumer and Competition Authority that can stand up and impose tough sanctions on businesses that are breaking the law, as well as an independent product safety regulator to tackle dangerous products.

There must also be greater responsibility on online platforms and marketplaces to prevent scams, fake reviews and the sale of unsafe products, and security needs to be built into the design of connected devices.

Working with Which?

The next government must also work with Which? to build a fair and transparent pensions system –  one that enables people to track their pensions, addresses the pensions gender gap, and helps ensure that retirement income products are value for money.

On the increasingly important topic of trade, our position is clear; future trade policy must be built on the foundation stones of world-leading consumer standards, consumer rights and enhanced choice.

Whilst a future national food strategy must maintain the UK’s high food standards. 

We’re really excited about our consumer agenda for government, because we believe that it embraces the best of the modern consumer world, but will also help everyone have a stake in it.

Read our full manifesto here.

 

Which area from our consumer agenda is your top concern?
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Comments
Sharon says:
7 December 2019

All causes are important but close to my own personal situation is the fact that as a senior clinician in the NHS I have been top of my pay band for over 10 years which has meant no incremental increases, no inflation increases and no pay rise for over 10 years. I have continued to develop myself, my service and national patient care but am taking home less (with our pension changes) than 10 years ago! Politicians have continued to give themselves pay rises during this period and even talk of giving people on income support a rise as they haven’t had one for four years! What about expert clinicians who continue to give their all but have nowhere to progress further due to the NHS pay and career structure?

Rose Berl says:
7 December 2019

There is nothing that is more important than protecting the earth from the disaster we are sleepwalking into.

Gary Boyce says:
7 December 2019

A mandatory expulsion for any MP found to be misleading or obfuscating whilst in either the ruling or opposition or an independent party. The expulsion would be for the lifetime of the person and no further political involvement, either on social media or tabloid press, shall be permitted. A fine of £70,000 shall be forfeit if any former MP is considered to have disregarded or has tried to circumvent this rule. That’ll shut the liars up, Bye bye Boris..

Howard Quinn says:
7 December 2019

What a wonderful idea. Politicians seem to be allowed to make any claim with no adverse consequences when they are proved to be dishonest. Raise the fine to 50% of the offender’s worth and we could clear the national debt in no time with the likes of Boris. The deterrent would make them think carefully before speaking.

carmichael says:
7 December 2019

Why pick on Boris? Corbyn is much worse e.g. NHS/USA claims

I’m not a supporter of Corbyn, but the dossier does make some rather worrying points:

“Memos reveal that the US is pushing for a deal in which all services would be opened up to US companies unless they were on a list of specific exemptions.

US officials said this approach “makes total market access the baseline assumption of the trade negotiations”. The Trump Administration is “wedded” to this because it “incentivises freer trade”, they said.”

“UK officials said their US counterparts “should expect the UK to be a liberalising influence” and help “fly the good flag for services liberalisation””

I said all that a while back Ian to criticism as I had already had a look at what Donald wanted from the UK via my US friends , I think you all thought I was lying .
I am criticised for supplying US information as it “doesn’t apply in the UK ” so if Donald s “America First ” Trade “Deal ” doesn’t apply to the UK then there is a bit of hypocrisy going on here.

If you did not know already “Liberalism” has two exactly opposite meanings to Americans and Brits , in the USA it means far right views while here its much more to the left .
Donald is a “Liberal ” wants US big business to run the world –with zero opposition.

I could have supplied a lot of inside US info but I would be heavily censured and condemned for it “not applying here ” even though its pretty “hair-raising ” .

mike rosser says:
7 December 2019

How about we all vote for lesser parties on Thursday, and crush the two major parties making them both ever so humble and honest for ever more,

Mike says:
7 December 2019

Good points but we must remember that the “free market” and “Level playing fields” of all commercial markets principle is also championed by the wealthy backers of the EU! Hence the privatisation of so many public services because “public subsidy” of any “market” (SIC!) is deemed to attack those guiding principles. The most worrying aspect in relation to the US is the Trump administration hobbyhorse of other nations not paying enough for US goods and services – such as drugs sold to the NHS. The Americans would want to see the NHS NICE regulations watered down. That would lead to the NHS paying US drug companies more and obviously place strains on what the NHS could afford to prescribe. Not to mention possible expensive arbitration payments to US companies if any of our Governments regulatory decisions are deemed to restrain fair competition for foreign companies, especially American.

Mike says:
7 December 2019

Good suggestion about a long overdue need to build some sort of legal responsibility around those who seek public office. Too many who fail (e.g. Some CEO’s of public services as well as politicians) are then allowed to resign or retire with huge parting payments and often better pensions than the majority of us! Some have even been allowed to take similar posts elsewhere – even in the same organisation! If traders and professional services providers are liable for misinformation or personal loss or harm legal claims – why not politicians and public officials too? None should be rewarded with golden goodbye deals in cases proven under any new law. Indeed their should be substantial penalties instead. I have also thought that the principle should apply elsewhere. Instead of fining a company or public body that will immediately pass the cost on to the rest of us, the buck should stop with the actual persons responsible for running the organisation in an unsafe or illegal manner.

Kathleen Berry says:
7 December 2019

TRANSPARENCY AND FAIRNESS MUST BE AT THE HEART OF IT

brian says:
7 December 2019

The USA has been after the UK ( and Europe) for years. So many either don’t know (or care) what the Common Market – EU was formed for Quote ” to stand against the US economy ” !!

[Moderator: this comment was removed due to potentially defamatory content. For more information about what is and isn’t allowed, Terms & Conditions]

I trust you have evidence to support this very serious allegation, Mal.

I echo that – please show us your evidence!

Robert says:
8 December 2019

NO the majority of lesser parties are leavers. Vote as you believe.

L. Kirby says:
8 December 2019

Please can you be specific and back up you opinions with evidence.

For impartiality it’s worth noting that Corbyn did in fact condemn the IRA when on Sky News yesterday, he condemned all the bombing by both the loyalists and the IRA.

It’s also curious that the same article linked above and run by the Daily Mail has been quoted and re-quoted – word for word – by numerous anti-Labour party sites. That in itself is interesting, since it appears that is the only bit of history they can find to besmirch Corbyn.

I’m no fan of his at all, but this sort of behaviour is abhorrent in a modern and (one hopes) egalitarian society.

Thank you, Malcolm. I had not appreciated this was a current news item – if only Mal had quoted his source. The Mail On-line article does appear to be a good piece of journalism and seems plausible throughout. I can’t wait for tomorrow’s instalment.

I suspect that helping an undeserving person to get a council house is not unusual in local government but at no time was Jeremy Corbyn an Islington councillor and he could not therefore have “given him a council property in Islington” as Mal stated, hence, in my view, the corruption charge is not upheld. The IRA connexions have been well known and documented for a long time. The suggested evidence of longstanding tolerance of anti-Semitism seemed fresh to me, however, and somewhat surprising in the light of recent disclaimers.

I suspect many who wish Labour ill deliberately conflate anti-Semitism with Anti-Israel sentiments. That said, I have to wonder if there’s nothing in it why so many Jewish MPs have left the party.

Phil says:
9 December 2019

Anything the Daily Mail prints has to be taken with a pinch of salt to say the least. It has spent years coming up with this sort of stuff. Remember when Corbyn was a Czech spy?

Jill Levack says:
7 December 2019

A complete, in-depth study and overhaul of the greedy, medieval Leasehold/ground rent housing system, not just for the recently uncovered ‘new build’ homes, but for the millions trapped in the system with older properties. Lease extension is a self serving, greed arrangement, Regulation of managers/freeholders etc is derisory, RICS in particular. A huge spotlight needed urgently.

Banks handling of money has caused the current crisis and the constant commercial pressure to spend is pressuring people putting stress onto everything. We have to find a better way to live,more supportive, kind, considerate. The world is becoming cruel on every level. It’s not old fashioned to be kind.

So true; while there are serious concerns about the attitudes of some so-called ‘World Leader’ I believe it is up to us to actually lead the way in kindness and compassion. What we see all to often is the coldness in people’s hearts – the current crop of politicians have merely brought a covert callous mindset into the open and made the unacceptable deem acceptable. But it is not and never will be!
If we, the ordinary, extraordinary ‘common’ people do not stand up and speak out for decency we are indeed going to hell in a handcart…..

Tania Manners says:
7 December 2019

I’m very concerned for the NHS. It should not become privatised. I’ve spent three days in one of our hospitals and I am so thankful for the care and kindness and help I received from all staff, working under stress, increased winter pressures, long hours, cheerfully. Please help them!! They serve us all. Thank you.

Mike says:
7 December 2019

Absolutely! We do not want health care provided by hedge company backers of medical insurance plans! My sister died younger than I because a private health care company spent a lot of time and money pursuing simple complaints for her growing discomfort. Then when to everyone’s horror they finally diagnosed spreading cancer as the true cause – she was quickly referred to the public health service! The NHS oncology tried in vein to save her but the cancer was by now well spread and proved terminal. A question, how many doctors and nurses are trained by the public service at and used by private health companies for the benefit of wealthier patients?

Roberto says:
7 December 2019

The worst of any electoral outcome is leaving the EU. How is it proposed to maintain established standards across a whole range of consumer issues including freedom of movement, compliance with safeguards on goods, single market for goods and services and enforcement of our rights as consumers, and a political say in how standards are set in future? We need to be told!

We have not been dependent on Europe for consumer protection standards, Roberto, and in many fields the EU has taken UK models and made them applicable across its membership. There is no reason why the UK cannot continue to develop its own laws and standards and follow EU practice where that is desirable. All the existing EU regulations have been transposed into UK law and will prevail unless they are changed through our own democratic processes. We shall still have to trade with EU countries in the future if we leave the EU so it will be in our national interest to have compatible, if not identical, standards.

Sally says:
7 December 2019

Maybe Roberto is too young to remember the British Standard Institute founded in 1901. The world’s first standards institution.

Most of the standards we adopt and work to are International Standards, prepared by organisations that we directly contribute to in research and work. That will not change. Harmonisation of standards is in our interests.

Brian Peter Jones says:
7 December 2019

I trust the British Standards Institution mark on products over and above the ee mark.

All EU national marks are equal, carried out by testing to the same standard and in the same way. That is why any one national mark is recognised as showing compliance across the whole of the EU.

I’ve just stated what I believe is a fact. What is the disagreement?

Your “thumbs down” has been “nulled” by me Malcolm.
Would the down-marker care to elucidate as Malcolm is Professional Engineer ?

Thanks Duncan.

I cannot understand why Malcolm’s comment [“All EU national marks are equal . . .”] has attracted a further two ‘thumbs down’ marks. His comment is a matter of fact. Those who disagree with it should explain themselves. I have knocked out one of them and will probably now get one in revenge!

..and once again I ask why do we even have thumbs?

I’m sure we’d get by without them 🙂

You just said the clue John —-“All EU national marks “— its so ingrained into some of the population that “we hate the EU ” that any mention of it provokes extreme anger –not rational and on moral grounds , where is the English sense of “fair play ” ?
It reminds me of the American North/South divide still going strong.

Somebody commented on the Social Heritage of this country ,its now gone globalised and in alignment of American social values.
As Americans say–“give me 5 ” I expect to get many “thumbs down ” but it wont change my opinion ,gone is the natural “English Reserve ” and intellectual conversation which I love .

What do we have to do to get the thumbs removed from Which? Conversation?

I would argue that being covert and divisive they are not in the spirit of the community – a concept sometimes invoked by the editorial team to criticise an erring contributor.

Some folk really do seem to get quite upset if their comments attract even just one negative thumb.

Hence I think is it obvious that W?C would be a nicer place if no-one had to suffer that.

Facebook only allows positive thumbs.

YouTube allows both positive and negative thumbs, but then comments are quite often not as polite as on W?C, so commenters tend to be quite thick skinned.

Privately or otherwise, many YouTube content creators will say that their commenters are, in fact, the lowest form of human life anyway. But then YouTube serves to both entertain and educate, so at least some of the apparent disputes there are not 100% serious.

It goes without saying that I fully agree with you both. I’m also certain that there was talk in Welcome to W? Cs that they were going to be removed. But nothing’s happened.

Perhaps we need to get Brexit done first 😉

Yes, Duncan – you are probably right that the letters EU inflame some people. But ignorance is at work as well: the national marks [like the BSI Kitemark] are not EU marks at all but Malcolm’s comment was designed to reassure us that all national marks within the EU have equal validity irrespective of their country of origin and parity with the CE mark.

Perhaps the objectors don’t like the idea of comparative testing to identical standards.

Perhaps we should discuss ‘thumbs’ in the Convo which is now dedicated to discussing this website: https://conversation.which.co.uk/which-membership/welcome-to-the-new-which-conversation/

It’s up to Which? to decide whether or not to have them and how they work, but it’s all a bit meaningless when they are being manipulated to promote certain posts, as obviously has been done in this Convo.

I don’t cry when a comment I make receives a thumbs down – I have developed broader shoulders. I just see it as an opportunity missed for the downer to make a valid comment that should contribute to the discussion. Many comments are open to contrary views, are a little controversial, can be seen in a different light. Presumably they have a good reason to disagree. If not, why bother?

I believe every citizen should have identification cards as proof of citizenship instead of a hooded garment and benefits should be allocated in form of being only able to purchase the needs of day to day living. Not cigarettes, tattoos, dugs & alcohol, which certainly are not mentioned in Maslow’s Hierarchy of Man – The Wants and Needs Of

That would be great so long as they could be freely issued.

In effect, the UK current uses Birth Certificates, Passports, EU National Identity Cards and UK Driving Licences as valid forms of identity.

But there is no legal need to posses one of those at all and this currently leads to discrimination against the poor and homeless.

John says:
7 December 2019

The thing all politicians seem to ignore .
A state pension people can live on .
Not struggle to survive on.

Yes, John – it’s always a contest between higher pensions paid for by higher taxation and national insurance throughout the period in work, or a lower pension but more money left in workers’ pockets which they can use to build up their own savings and investments in a flexible way to support them in the later years of life.. At the moment we have the second system supported by a raft of other credits and benefits for those on the minimum pension levels. I don’t get the impression that there is much appetite for the first system. All this presumes continued adherence to the fundamental principle of no means testing, but a computer model could probably be developed to show how things would work out if means testing were introduced at different levels of wealth.

J D Resende says:
7 December 2019

Those in power should be accountable for their actions

On polling day, we can either replace or reinstate those who’ve been in power.

At present the choice of candidate is an internal Party affair. I sometimes think there is some merit in the US primary election system where there are public run-offs to select the best candidate for each Party; it still depends on who offer themselves for election, however, and in America on who can afford to run for office.

Kevin says:
7 December 2019

There should be a legal presumption that anyone in a senior position, being paid a high salary, is responsible for what goes on in their organisation, ignorance of bad or poor practise should be no excuse, only mitigation is if a lower level exec is proven to mislead or defraud the organisation.

It would be great if elections got rid of poor politicians, but the fact is the parties have enough control to embed their preferred politicians in the system. Proportional representation systems (eg regional seats) which allow parties to nominate their candidate list should be changed to allow voters to choose an individual, not a party. STV is closest to optimum I think, criticism that it allows a 1st round loser to win is actually the best argument for it.

Alan says:
7 December 2019

People living and dying on the streets should make all politicians ashamed of their country

Derek Mills says:
7 December 2019

My main concern is that if you pick a Labour G’ov then you will be wondering if the rumours of Corbyn and Mcdonald were paying for terrorist attacks in the UK and Israel especially when he was with these terrorist organisations.
Myself I wouldn’t trust these 2 to govern a child’s playground.
Plus how can anyone ever blame Boris for not delivering brexit when the rest of the politicians from all sides of the house would not allow him to carry out the will of the 17.4 Million people who voted to leave the EU.
No that was Labour and Lib-dem’s and SNP and DUP politicians who were stopping the UK from leaving the EU not Boris Johnson.

Boris voted against Theresa May’s Brexit deal twice, so he is in no position to criticise other MP’s voting against Brexit.

Phil says:
7 December 2019

Both Northern Ireland and Scotland voted to stay in the EU so in that respect it was a 2-2 draw. You are obviously English so how would you like it if you were dragged out against your will by the Scots and Irish?
Johnson voted against May’s deal twice and only voted for it when she promised to resign when she got it through, -surprise, surprise. He then comes up with a `new` deal which May rejected because it throws the Ulster Unionists under a bus.

I have no doubt that, under existing arrangements, it is only a matter of time before Northern Ireland votes to leave the UK and unite with the Republic of Ireland.

It might not be long before ‘United Kingdom’ and ‘Great Britain’ are consigned to the history books. 🙁

Your right Wavechange , if you think those in England want to keep the NHS in the public domain that’s nothing to how they feel in Scotland , its up there with the “Meaning of Life ” .
If Boris tries to implement Donald,s “policies ” in Scotland then he had better send a lot of “Redcoats and tanks ” to George Square in Glasgow /Dundee and other parts as there will be riots.
I can absolutely guarantee a vast majority for independence if Boris stops Scottish legislation on taking care of NHS Scotland by Holyrood , uproar wouldn’t even be close .
If you think I am “kidding ” check out what the Scottish public feel about the Donald,s USA proxies taking control of the Scottish NHS –its unprintable.

At the last count, five members of my family were working for the NHS in Scotland. I have more than a passing interest.

It’s encouraging that most people in the UK are in favour of the NHS compared with what exists in Europe and the US. Unfortunately, few seem to be aware of the growing commercial involvement, or even want to know.

The UK voted as a whole on EU membership. Until we are no longer a United Kingdom we should behave as one country. London was the only major area in England to vote “remain” so perhaps they should join the Scots and the N.Irish, declare independence and opt back in if the rest of us opt out.

It is interesting how those with opposing views try to use dubious (and maybe tongue-in-cheek) arguments to show how right they are, and how the rest are mistaken.

Simply repeating unsubstantiated claims about losing the whole of the NHS gets nowhere. Much of our healthcare is already private – dentists, opticians – and we have private doctors, hospitals, and parts of the NHS are operated on contract by private companies. Many hospitals were built and are serviced under PFI contracts let by both the major parties. What we need to do is examine just how these different sectors perform rather than just assuming all is good, only if publicly run.

However, the cornerstone of the NHS is that it is available to all and is free, in the main. There would be a revolution if that principle was ever changed, so no government dare do that – even if it was ever a passing thought. But, we do have a problem in providing health care for all as we advance treatment to keep people alive for longer, even in bad health. I’d suggest that is a topic we could explore. It may need some uncomfortable decisions on how resources are used.

Phil says:
7 December 2019

Malcolm r, you really should check your facts. In addition to London nearly all English and Welsh cities voted to remain. Including Newcastle, Leeds, Manchester, Liverpool, Bristol, Leicester, Norwich, York, Cardiff. So, yes, we would be delighted to join the Scots and Irish and remain in the EU and watch on as the rest of the country who rely on these big cities for their wealth, enjoy being Little Englanders but going very quickly broke.
Oh, I forgot, Gibraltar also voted to remain, so the country count goes to 3-2.

As a Scot who has lived in England most of his life I doubt I will have any say in the matter, but we live in interesting times.

Whether it’s politicians’ claims on individuals’ views posted on a website, it’s common to look at issues based on our own prejudices and experience. It’s always risky for pots to call kettles black. 🙂

My main concern is the possibility of our NHS could gradually become controlled by other countries, in the same way that energy – another essential service – has become since it was privatised. I hope that we can all agree that the government needs to remain in control irrespective of how much is contracted out.

Since -2015 private enterprise has raked in £15billion from the NHS Wavechange.
This is one area I don’t care if I fall out with the City-HMG et al I am totally against privatisation of the NHS but its Donald that counts and he complains bitterly –in US media how Brits are “getting their medicine cheap ” and want us to pay “American prices ” which are so high many in the USA die from un- affordability .
Again listening to criticism here I wont post the vast differences in price of US drugs but its shocking and could bankrupt the NHS .

What I will say –biggest household debt of an American citizens –Medical expenses most of the poor die before its paid off and I hope nobody quotes — “medical insurance ” I have read the T & C,s and you need to have the health of “Superman ” to pass them and be wealthy to afford them , one insurance is not enough and no ! you don’t get 100 % of the costs about 85 %.

Yes, we are better sticking to the consumer agenda than comparing health care with other countries.

“In 30 cities, votes to Remain outnumbered those to Leave by over 900,000 (4,872,810 to 3,955,595 or 55.2% to 44.8%), while in the other voting areas, the votes to Leave outnumbered those to Remain by nearly 2.2 million (13,455,147 to 11,268,431, or 54.4% to 45.6%).”

In any case only 72,1% of the electorate actually voted or were able to vote, so the vote as a percentage of the total electorate for Not Leaving was 28,300,000, a figure which dwarfs the 17,400,000 who voted to leave.

But there’s a far more serious issue: since the referendum was run more than 2.5m UK citizens have become eligible to vote. Some three and a half years on is it right to deny them the chance to express their opinion?

You know what Ian that’s a serious issue and thanks for counting the numbers I did not realise that aspect of it for all the propaganda being outputted by the UK media .
Your post deserves an intelligent ,logical answer without any emotional/dogmatic input .

Phil, thanks for the comment. It depends how far you want to drill down. Try this – https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-36616028
and this
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Results_of_the_2016_United_Kingdom_European_Union_membership_referendum where 15 of 25 English cities voted leave.

I think those who do not live in cities might like their views counted equally.
But it is irrelevant. The view of the whole country/UK counts, not just cities. A view was requested and a view was given. Just because some do not like the result does not mean those some should think they have the greater understanding and feel they can reject the result.

However, it is now in the hands of the next government.

It seems rather a strange assumption to suggest that the 12, 913, 472 people who were eligible to vote but didn’t were all remainers. It is far more likely that they would be split in proportion to the rest of the electorate who did vote. Which would still give an even greater number of people in favour of leaving.

As for the change in electorate eligibility, on that basis perhaps we should have a general election every year as new voters will become eligible who may not agree with the previous result.

I don’t think that argument holds much water.

Presumably none of these comments would be made if the result had gone the other way?

If there is a real basis for reevaluating the position it is if there is real evidence – not speculation – that whatever we choose would be to the significant and long term detriment of the UK. I suggest incontrovertible evidence either way simply does not exist.

Phil says:
8 December 2019

And of course, Ian, many people over the age of 65 will have popped their clogs since June 2016. These people were twice as likely to vote leave as the 18-25 years olds. ref: https://yougov.co.uk/topics/politics/articles-reports/2016/06/27/how-britain-voted
We have had 2 general elections since the referendum what’s the problem with having another EU vote now that the lies perpetrated by the current Prime Minister (NHS) and his advisor (A million Turks coming to the UK) have been exposed?

malcolm r says: It seems rather a strange assumption to suggest that the 12, 913, 472 people who were eligible to vote but didn’t were all remainers.

Who made that suggestion, Malcolm? Certainly wasn’t I. What I said was that the total number who didn’t vote to Leave exceeded the number who did.

It is far more likely that they would be split in proportion to the rest of the electorate who did vote.
Perhaps; but we cannot possibly know that for sure, especially since it’s the younger folk who traditionally fail to vote, and it’s considered the younger are those most in favour of Remaining.

As for the change in electorate eligibility, on that basis perhaps we should have a general election every year as new voters will become eligible who may not agree with the previous result.

There’s no comparison between a general election, where evidence suggests that things change very little, and a Referendum to cut all ties with our closest neighbour, the effects of which cannot possibly be estimated but where all parties agree will not be easy for the first several years.

The simple fact is that there are now at least 2.5m newly eligible voters who are effectively being dragged out without being given a voice. Do you not believe they have a right to express their opinions through the ballot box?

Personally, I always wonder why, if Leavers are so supremely confident in the vote, they always seem to panic at the suggestion of a second referendum. I wonder what it is about a second referendum that scares them so much?

So, do you not believe the newly enfranchised have a right to express their opinions through the ballot box?

Nobody knew the In/Out vote promised by the government would still be unresolved three years later. Not only have 2.5 million new voters entered the lists since 2016 but many others have passed away so the mood of the country could well be different now.

Personally I don’t want a second referendum but I find it hard to deny the justification for one because I think if we leave the EU on a dubious premise we are not going to have a united country in various senses.

I can understand why Leavers don’t want a second referendum because they won the first one, but I do also find it strange that they don’t seem to think they’d easily win a second vote.

Also, whatever happens, I think we are doomed to end up with a divided country.

Phil says:
8 December 2019

Good point John. People over the age of 65 were twice as likely to vote leave as the 18-25 year olds and many of these will now have passed away. ref: https://yougov.co.uk/topics/politics/articles-reports/2016/06/27/how-britain-voted
We have had 2 General Elections since the referendum so why not another EU vote? Especially now the lies of the current Prime Minister (NHS) and his advisor (1 million Turks will be coming to the UK) have been exposed.

“In any case only 72,1% of the electorate actually voted or were able to vote, so the vote as a percentage of the total electorate for Not Leaving was 28,300,000, a figure which dwarfs the 17,400,000 who voted to leave.“.

Perhaps this could be better explained. At first reading it looks as though because someone didn’t vote to leave they were added to the remain. Those who didn’t vote did not vote to remain either.

I just see these sorts of arguments unhelpful and not soundly based.

I see no panic in either side, except when manipulation of figures takes place to try to prove a point on either side. I guess most people just wish to get the matter concluded and we can then move on.

How many referenda and elections do we need to have to try to get a result changed that some do not like? I consider that, if we can believe any of the manifesto promises will be fulfilled, the general election could have a far more profound effect on the UK than staying or leaving the EU. We are faced with some pundits predicting financial ruin, break up of the Union, or worse – another hung parliament and years more stalemate.

A hung parliament? Hanging is too good for them.

Perhaps they should just be suspended then.

Catherine Neil says:
7 December 2019

Sorry but they are a bunch of brown mouths that promise this that and the other until they get the keys to No10 and then break every promise they made. Bunch of liars…..!!!! Just saying.

Artur miller says:
7 December 2019

I have been doing volunteer work with the ‘underdog’ for the last 40 years and what I have liked to see this government and other governments stop saying we are a rich country, Europe, we are the richest continent in the world and 70 million people are malnourished in this country, UK, France, Italy and others country have 5 millions are malnourished in each country. I have found this immoral even criminal and they keep boasting about their democracy (which doesn’t exist) and their freedom.
All the best,

a. miller

Brian Peter Jones says:
7 December 2019

You say seventy million people are malnourished in this country, how do you make that out? all you see is a lot of well upholstered people walking about, a lot of whom work in the health service.

The UK population has not yet reached 70 million – currently it stands at around 67.5m. If which 64% are said to be either obese or overweight (I am astonished at that figure) so, if correct, malnourished are far less.

Artur makes the point that malnutrition is a serious problem in the UK and in Europe, which is true, irrespective of how it is quantified. Artur is also doing something to help the situation.

Maybe it’s time to think of excessive intake of food as the new malnutrition.

Phil says:
8 December 2019

There are 14 million people living in poverty in the UK (20% of the total population) of these 4.5 million are children. The words `Social Security` do not appear anywhere in the current Tory manifesto and tax cuts do little to help people who don’t pay tax, so I can only see these figures rise under a Johnson government as they did under the Cameron and May regimes.

It would be fascinating to have an intelligent discussion about poverty outside the confines of this particular Conversation. As a consumer organisation, it would be appropriate for Which? to enable it.

I would be particularly interested to consider what is the necessary role of the state in preventing and relieving poverty because every action has consequences, especially in relation to dependency.

Appalling as it seems, I would not challenge the estimate of four million plus children being brought up in poverty because it is based on respectable research by organisations like the Joseph Rowntree Foundation.

Absolute poverty, or destitution, where people cannot even afford the basic necessities of a bare existence must be eliminated, but when the debate looks at relative poverty it becomes much more difficult.

We still have in this country the Poor Law ‘deterrent principle’ mentality and I sometimes wonder whether that is a help or a hindrance in addressing the issue, and whether or not it would be better for the state to just use some of its wealth to eradicate destitution through direct intervention and control. In a free society that raises several concerns that are uncomfortable and not necessarily conducive to political solutions in today’s climate touching as they do on immigration, population, education and skills, welfare, accommodation, cultural norms and attitudes, a consensus on policy, and other factors.

Absolute poverty is when household income is below a certain level, which makes it impossible for the person or family to meet basic needs of life including food, shelter, safe drinking water, education, healthcare, etc.

In this state of poverty, even if the country is growing economically it has no effect on people living below the poverty line. Absolute poverty compares households based on a set income level and this level varies from country to country depending on its overall economic conditions.

Relative poverty is when households receive 50% less than average household incomes, so they do have some money but still not enough money to afford anything above the basics. This type of poverty is, on the other hand, changeable depending on the economic growth of the country.

It would be useful to concentrate on absolute poverty, something we should seek to eradicate from the UK.

“The number of children living in absolute poverty across the UK has increased by 200,000 in a year – to a total of 3.7 million. New government data shows that while the rate of absolute child poverty had been gradually falling since 2012, it is now rising again.“.

This implies around 1.5 million families. We could examine ways how they can be helped.

Gillian Irene Hull says:
7 December 2019

Ensure that Care Homes including privately owned ones are properly regulated and correctly staffed to ensure that residents get a proper care package and are shown respect.
Government need to ensure funding is available that enables people needing care are legally provided for whether they are in a home or use the service in their own homes.

Ken Fretwell says:
7 December 2019

Stop moaning about the weather,we cannot change it.Blame the Sun.

Gerry Parker says:
7 December 2019

If Marxist Corbyn gets the keys to no’10.We are all doomed . You can forget any regulations there wont be anything to regulate. The left wing state will dictate everything.

In particular Brexit + Corbyn could enable confiscation of property and/or nationalisation with compensation. Currently, EU Law prevents this.

I’m looking for a rock…

Henry stuckey says:
7 December 2019

Greater protection for the English way of life, rather than the foreigners intervention methods.

Raymond Tissier says:
7 December 2019

Wait till you need proper dental treatment, I have been to see 10 dentists, and they are all WORK SHY younsters!; there are no dentists who actually want to roll up their sleeves and do some proper dental work to get a patients teeth functioning again.. to where you can eat sometime and not just soft foods.. they cant even be bothered to fill a tooth, no they want to root canal it and then crown it for a cool £1800 or so.. one “SMILE CLINIC” QUOTED ME £32,000ish, and even Mervin my old dentist sayd to me “i wouldnt touch your mouth for less than £30,000… so you know what i ended up doing my own treatment, ive bought a Dremel and im going to put temp fillings in myself with Glass Ionomer Cement, sent from india for $15.00… and it Works. NHS dental is almost non existent..

Raymond says:
7 December 2019

Hey i dont mind you using my first name, but not my last, otherwise this is asking for trouble Which!! please remove my last name from the comments above which i posted so that others could realize dentists are not what they are supposed to be, and do not offer any help at all.. they just go on pontificating abiut in a perfect world you would have more bone, no gum disease, bla bla… and i the time thy waste they could have filled two teeth… but nothing.. and they waste my time.. taken for granted with no service…
Raymond

Not THE Raymond Tissier –“be my summer love ” -song or –
is it the company director – Andrew Raymond Tissier ?
I have found one Harley Street dentist practice with a “Tissier ” also Southampton ???

I ‘reported’ Raymond’s comment so that his username can be changed. That might not happen until after the weekend.

In that case remove my post above at the same time Wavechange .

I’ll let you do that, Duncan. If someone does not want to be identified it might not be a good idea to discuss their identity! Just click on Report to report your own message.

I’d suggest “do not try this at home”. I remember Mr Bean’s trip to the dentist whom he accidentally anaesthetised and did his own fillings from the XRay – complicated by not knowing which way round he should read the photograph.

More seriously Dentist friends of ours have told us of some truly horrendous outcomes from folk who’ve tried the DIY route. One person used evo stik to replace a crown, but apparently the solvent used damages tooth enamel and they lost the tooth.

Was that the one he drove to in the mini? One of the funniest road journeys ever!

Ian Chamberlain says:
7 December 2019

I remember the 1970’s when the left wing labour government wrecked the economy,managed to get the unemployment register to 2.4 million,and because of dock strikes my mother had to resort to wiping her backside with newspaper beause of the toilet roll shortage.We had a 3 day working week because of power cuts,The water companies went on strike regularly so no power no water and my family having to survive on 3 days pay.An inflation rate of 17%,and shops,and our home lit with candles,until the shops ran out of candles.This time i am prepared,and have a passport and savings and my own home which i have to can sell to escape the chaos i fear .I don’t want to be unemployed,watch my savings disappear along with my hopes and dreams.No thank you labour.

In my timeline, that famous 3-day-week occurred under a Conservative Government, see:-https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Three-Day_Week

Thanks a lot, Ian Chamberlain, for allow W?C readers to experience the kind of lies and half truths that are currently going viral on baser social media.

The peak inflation rate was around 1968 during Harold Wilson’s second premiership from 1966-70.

Edward Heath won the 1970 election and the three-day working week was during the winter of 1974 as a result of strikes by coal miners.

When looking backwards it is easy to conflate periods but not helpful for understanding current problems.

Agreed. The wiki article I linked above gives only a brief overview of events before and after the three day week.