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Concerns grow over Brexit, food prices and the pound

Brexit

Our latest research reveals that the public are growing increasingly concerned about the impact of leaving the EU. As such, we want to know, what are your Brexit concerns and what do you think the benefits of Brexit could be?

In the weeks following the vote, Which? gave advice about people’s finances and their questions about holidays. In fact, the main point that we consistently made was that nothing has yet changed, apart from the clear and well reported hit to the pound caused by uncertainty in the markets.

Navigating change

The referendum result has had an impact on me both personally and professionally. I’ve lived in Brussels for over 15 years – I got married there, had a baby there and have spent my professional life working to influence EU policy across a range of subjects.

As a British citizen abroad, I’ve become one of the ‘bargaining chips’ with an uncertain future.

But, what hasn’t changed is that the EU continues to have a major role in UK policy and as such my day-to-day work continues. I still spend my days meeting political stakeholders, representing Which? for UK consumers on a European Commission expert panel and highlighting their needs in relation to specific policy.

I also meet with elected officials, the infamous MEPs in the European Parliament. The UK has 73 MEPs working across a variety of issues, so we provide input and examples where the UK is doing good work.

But, what has changed is the amount of focus we’re now placing on ensuring the best possible outcome for UK consumers.

And, this is where hearing from you is key to making sure we’re getting it right. Our research in particular is a really important tool for us as it helps us to tell political stakeholders what consumers are most concerned about. Our latest research shows nearly half of people (47%) are worried about the impact of Brexit. This is an 8% rise since our September survey.

In fact, we found that people are increasingly worried about the price of food (58%), the value of sterling (53%) and the price of holidays (39%).

Addressing concerns

We’ve found that there are concerns about how effectively consumers will be represented during the negotiations, and that’s where Which? comes in – we’re doing our best to push for the government to place consumers at the heart of its negotiations and to set out how they will champion consumers’ interests.

In addition to discussions we’ve been having with our members, we’ve been working behind the scenes to assess how legislation will be affected, ramping up intelligence gathering and looking at how different sectors such as energy, transport, food and financial services could change for consumers.

As well as the areas we campaign in, as you can imagine, there are many other areas that we haven’t previously focused, mainly because the EU was somewhat of a secondary safety net/backstop.

Getting your voice heard

In the coming months, we want to see assurances that existing consumer rights, such as rules on mobile roaming or flight compensation, and protections, such as food and product safety, will not be watered down. And we also want to see the Government setting out how consumers will benefit as we start to forge new relationships outside of the EU.​

​These assurances are critical because consumer confidence​ is critical to the UK economy. And this is why ​putting consumer needs ​at the centre of the negotiations ​is critical for the UK.

As we continue to form our position on a number of issues related to Brexit, we’re keen to hear from you what you think it’s important for us to focus on. Do you agree with the findings of our survey? Is there anything that you think is missing?

Comments
Guest
Norman Heslip says:
15 December 2016

The People voted to leave the EU back in June, why are the house of lords making it tough for us to just leave and run our own country, after all we have had 43 years being in the EU, there is no such thing as a hard or soft brexit, we just want to get on with being independant and do business with a multitude of countries for import and export, so what is going on stop causing delay’s and get on with getting us out of the EU once and for all time thank you.

Guest
Alan Chapman says:
15 December 2016

I agree with all of Normans comments, lets just get on with it. I suspect Brussels is worried that we will get on better out because it may encourage others to try. Think back to the comments when we didn’t join the Euro, its the same people that are so gloomy about leaving the E.U.

Guest

I don’t think you can pin any obstruction on the House of Lords, Norman. Some individual peers might wish to ensure that Parliament is fully involved in and debates the final package, but – so far as I am aware – there has been no debate on it yet. I would guess that most peers are in favour of leaving the EU but wish to have their say before the deal is done.

Guest

I would not trust the current House of Lords to do anything else than follow party lines and with far too many Labour and Liberal-Democrats, I would be surprised if they do not at least delay Brexit if not actuallu scupper it

Guest
ROBERT MCINTOSH says:
17 December 2016

Oh dear, with comments like these I truly pray Scotland leaves England behind as soon as possible – England (as a whole) is rapidly becoming an extreme right-wing, fascist, racist autocracy, I truly feel sorry for those with decent human morals

Guest

Robert I take it you are Scottish ? Leaving aside the “racist/fascist” comments dont you know England,s history of the past 2000 years ? it has always been a Martial Nation , its what made it . sitting on its backside and accepting its fate is not built into the national Spirit , when Land of Hope And Glory is sung that is sung in belief . England impresses itself on the world , it is not a “negative ” spirit country , its what has helped defend it through 1000 0f years in battles , its part of English heritage so I dont understand how you can suddenly think that England “doesnt look after itself ” . Whats wrong with being nationalistic ? I might not hold the same international political policy views as Westminster but regardless of that , if this country were attacked, old as I am I would do my bit to help as i could never be a traitor to this country nor could I live with myself ,if I was .

Guest

Thanks for that Bob. What an ideal opportunity to redress the imbalance in the upper house.
I should think an immediate ‘night of the long knives’ clearing out at least 2/3 of the peers is long overdue. Might assist the remainder to join the real world. Theresa May should get on with it now.

Guest
John McKenzie says:
17 December 2016

No the people did not vote for any kind of brexit there was no option for what people wanted from leaving the EU. A small majority of those who voted, of less than 4%, voted to leave. More people didn’t vote at all than voted to leave. One issue was the supremacy of British law. The House of Lords is trying to make sure that laws are obeyed. There is also a lot of negotiating to do. Currently there is little agreement on anything. Britain has legal commitments and wants to trade at the best possible terms. Just walking away would leave Britain with large debts and with poor terms of trade. 40% of Britain’s exports go to the other 27 member states none of those states export as much to us. Tit for tat tariffs hurt Britain far more than the EU. Trade disputes would be even worse. One problem is that no body voted for a particular plan. Leaving the EU does not mean leaving the single market it is an option. You do not understand economics or how international trade works. Independence does not mean you can do what you like. For example we can’t fish in EU waters without agreement. We export most of the fish we catch to Europe however we import a lot of the fish we eat from Europe. This one issue only involves only 12,000 workers and a fraction of 1% of our GDP. Sadly the leave campaign were promising things not in their power to promise and that were impossible to give anyway. Britain cannot tell the rest of the EU what they will do. Independence is not riding rough shod over everyone else and their interests. The rather childish assertion by leave that we will get everything we want was and is ludicrous. We don’t have any experienced trade negotiators, we don’t have enough negotiators they are currently training 500 to negotiate with all the countries of the EU and large numbers of other countries who our trade deals are through the EU. There is a delay because no one in government has any idea how to leave the EU without drastic damage to the economy.