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.
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%).
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?