/ Money

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.

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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.

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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

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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.

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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.

Guest
John McKenzie says:
17 December 2016

They cannot stop Britain leaving the EU. Only the House of Commons can do that.

Guest
John McKenzie says:
17 December 2016

Yes nationalism is great just ask Adolf Hitler, Mussolini etc. Nationalism led to mass murder of tens of millions of people let alone the deaths of further tens of millions in the armed services. Nationalism and patriotism are not the same. So the EU was formed to try to stop a further European war. Being violent and using gun boat diplomacy is no longer considered OK because it was murder. I think you live in some kind of other world state. Getting on with people and mutual respect are good things war is bad.

Guest
John McKenzie says:
17 December 2016

Well why not go the whole hog get rid of an unelected second house and replace it with a proportionally elected house to represent what people actually want. Actually make us a democracy.

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Chris says:
17 December 2016

The problem with being nationalistic is that it tends to cause a wrong perception. Waterloo? A joint effort between the Germans/Prussians and English. At least according to Wellington, who stated he couldn’t have done it without Blücher. Dunkirk? Belgian and French military sacrificed themselves to allow the English to retreat. WW2? The war turned when the USA entered it. Many, many of the things people in the UK are proud of were joint achievements and there is a lesson to be learnt there.

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John , I was one of the very few that backed “The Donald ” to become American President -why ? well your so called “Democratic” – Liberalism ( UK version not US version ) inhabitants in the White House were just about to start WW3 .Obama is still pushing it , backed by the Clintons and “others ” I will not name . Sweden has just announced it is going onto a war footing . in Germany doctors have been forced to registrar for war service and legislation is made for call-up , the public are told to quote-make sure you have 5 days water+food supply, store up. Several other countries have put their troops on standby, this country is talking the same and even ex. big shots in the military are saying -get ready for war , not to the public of coarse , as it isnt reported here. i would rather somebody thought of as “far right ” stop this country from being flattened by greed , and thats what its all about , world domination in trade, financially, economically and keep the US heading towards destruction to just to keep a uni-polar world . Think who are the real world aggressors who start, carry on , an believe in war war war ! and have been doing it for 60 years , and that is lIberalism ? its more warlike than Hitler ever was and they have killed more of the world population than he did.These are facts .

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Jennings says:
18 December 2016

[Sorry Jennings, your comment has been removed for breaching our Community Guidelines. Thanks, mods]

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Kevin Selby says:
18 December 2016

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Boots says:
18 December 2016

It is not fascist or right wing to want to be out of the corrupt EU project. There were many on the left, including some trade unions, who’s views were to leave the EU. Leaving the EU also has nothing whatsoever to do with racism.

[Sorry Boots, your comment has been edited to align with our our Community Guidelines. Thanks, mods]

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Boots says:
18 December 2016

Because we are leaving the EU doesn’t make it any more likely that there will be a war in Europe. We are still all in NATO after all.

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Boots I agree the EU suffers from corruption and you have a point it being not all the right wing thats wants out just ask whats left of the fishing industry in this country, especially in NE Scotland , they went against the FM wishes to vote to stay in because they see their industry devastated by EU regulations while Spain walks all over them . Everybody has a right to a point of view, bringing up fascism to stir up the public is wrong there are plenty of countries who act in a very nationalistic manner while hypocritically shouting out -we are democratic. If they look up real history they will see the socialist part was enacted in Germany and very left-wing Social Policies were introduced ask any honest historian . I see nothing wrong with being proud of the country you were born in and wanting to build up its prosperity and people are now realizing that in many EU countries taking their lead from Brexit and “the Donald ” . Notice for all this Democratic shouting they never open their mouths as they lead us to WW3 , so much for PC policies .

Guest

Parliament has the power to repeal legislation, the 1972 European Communities Act being an example of such legislation. This would make Article 50 null and void. There is no requirement to ‘negotiate’ our exit. Repeal the Act and we are no longer in the EU. Simple.

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You could be right Paul, but I have a feeling the bills would still keep coming because of our treaty obligations. I think it is in our interests to exit gracefully; who knows? – we might want to go back one day. As you rightly say, Parliament has the ultimate authority.

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Boots says:
24 December 2016

Robert should know that Scotland will not leave the UK in their present dire financial situation. Wanting to leave the EU is not right-wing, fascist or racist, as he infers. It is purely taking back control of our own borders, finances and laws. There are many on the left who voted to leave the EU. Indeed some Labour MP’s and trade unions spoke in favour of leaving.

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Michael says:
7 January 2017

Hi John. The way people vote like/ dislike in here is odd. I see you got 5 dislikes, I also got dislikes for telling these people the truth, because they don’t want to hear it. I live on the Isle of Man and we are not members of the EU so I speak from experience where those that voted me down that live in the UK do not have a clue. The facts are, once you leave the EU you are trapped. 1. The elderly who rely on an EHIC card for free or subsidised medical treatment, should they take ill will face huge hospital bills if the take ill in Europe. Many stay in Spain as it is cheaper than staying in Britain in the winter as they pay huge energy bills to keep warm etc.. an area of what Which Magazine is familiar with.. Health insurance is difficult to obtain for the elderly and those with existing medical conditions. They won’t get insured for 90 days in Spain etc.. 2. Your children at school who leave, unless they are qualified engineers, Doctors, Teachers will not be welcome to live in an EU country should they want to live and work abroad, so will be trapped in the UK. This is a fact. 3. Food prices, Inflation, Interest rates/ Mortgages will increase. 4. They promised leaving the EU would mean more money for the NHS, within weeks of this announcement, I received a petition complaining, this was a lie by the UK Government. So what am I supposed to say. Disliking my posts, is based on “I am not telling them what they want to hear” If leaving the EU was a good idea I would say so, I have nothing to gain by lying.

Guest
Michael says:
7 January 2017

I am from the Isle of Man. In case you don’t see my post, I agree with you, Scotland wants to breakaway from the UK. COPY of my post: The way people vote like/ dislike in here is odd. I see you got 5 dislikes, I also got dislikes for telling these people the truth, because they don’t want to hear it. I live on the Isle of Man and we are not members of the EU so I speak from experience where those that voted me down that live in the UK do not have a clue. The facts are, once you leave the EU you are trapped. 1. The elderly who rely on an EHIC card for free or subsidised medical treatment, should they take ill will face huge hospital bills if the take ill in Europe. Many stay in Spain as it is cheaper than staying in Britain in the winter as they pay huge energy bills to keep warm etc.. an area of what Which Magazine is familiar with.. Health insurance is difficult to obtain for the elderly and those with existing medical conditions. They won’t get insured for 90 days in Spain etc.. 2. Your children at school who leave School, unless they are qualified engineers, Doctors, Teachers will not be welcome to live in an EU country should they want to live and work abroad, so will be trapped in the UK. At present Unskilled UK Workers can get menial work if they choose in the EU. This is a fact. 3. Food prices, Inflation, Interest rates/ Mortgages will increase. 4. They promised leaving the EU would mean more money for the NHS, within weeks of this announcement, I received a petition complaining, this was a lie by the UK Government. So what am I supposed to say. Disliking my posts, is based on “I am not telling them what they want to hear” If leaving the EU was a good idea I would say so, I have nothing to gain by lying.

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Michael – A ‘thumbs down’ only means “I disagree”.

As for your consumer concerns, only time will tell.

Personally, I find the prospect of being trapped in the UK not unappealing [subject to terms and conditions].

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Michael – it wasn’t the UK government who “promised leaving the EU would mean more money for the NHS, within weeks of this announcement, I received a petition complaining, this was a lie by the UK Government.”. It was a lie – pure and simple – by those who wanted to leave.

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A “lie” that was explained by many commentators in the media, as were many of the other stupid statements made by both sides. It appalled me that so little thought went into what was being said by many of the politicians involved. Hopefully the UK public were, on the whole, realistic enough to see through silly statements.

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I doubt many people were taken in by it anyway. We all know you cannot do much to increase capacity in the National Health Service in a hurry because there are not enough qualified doctors, nurses and other specialists to expand the service levels, nor are there enough buildings and other physical resources available. As silly pledges go it was a spectacularly stupid one and I cannot imagine anyone would admit to believing it. A smart promise would have been to expand home care services both to allow people to leave hospital sooner and to prevent illnesses and conditions developing to the point that people need to become patients. None of the soap-box demagogues mentioned that on their bus tours which demonstrates their level of political acumen. In the final analysis the decisive argument had nothing to do with health, trade, money, banana regulations, the European Court of Justice, etc, but for whatever reason the parliamentarians funked it.

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Care is one of the problems. If there is a someone at home who can provide care, discharge can be very rapid, particularly round Christmas. A friend went in for major surgery for bowel cancer and was discharged five days later, on Christmas Eve. Some waiting lists for supposedly non-urgent operations are so long that there is ample time to arrange care.

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I have suggested under the New Campaigns convo, following Johns comment, that Which? could campaign to get social care properly funded for those without family or friends support. This would relieve, apparently, a lot of pressure on hospitals. It is a responsibility of local authorities, will need paying for, but we simply cannot bury our heads in the sand. I’d suggest a surcharge on council tax, ringfenced. Or perhaps divert more of the foreign aid budget from girl bands, reconsider trident, HS2……..? Lives and health should come first.

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I have long been wary of public spending cuts though there is no doubt that a lot of public money has been wasted. I would favour raising money in ways that help to cut down the gap between the rich and the poor, so increase the top rate of taxation and raise more through inheritance tax. I don’t feel qualified to comment on reducing defence spending, but I wonder what sort of lives we would have had if there had been a different outcome to WW2. I make this point for the sake of balance and I am appalled at how much we spend on defence. Equally, foreign aid is about lives and health. If only all the money went to the people who need it, but it does not.

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I agree with you, Wavechange. I think the council tax bands could also be looked at to see if the impact of higher council spending could be distributed more equitably to avoid penalising the worst-off in society but without adversely affecting those who genuinely need a larger property. A flat-rate increase on council tax as sometimes suggested is not equitable but a percentage increase accompanied by a banding review could be a good way forward. The problem with raising council tax rather than income tax is that it can hurt the people the measure is intended to benefit. Council tax revenues also need to be rebalanced to compensate for the lower yields in many areas with higher social care needs. I think VAT could also be reorganised to reduce the tax paid on necessities and increase the tax paid on inessentials and luxury goods.

I think we also have to be careful not to let the social care pressures push everything else – like libraries, rural transport, schooling, and consumer protection – off the tables at county hall.

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I agree with these points, John. Council Tax is well overdue for overhaul.

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Raising inheritance tax? When I have worked hard all my life and pay tax on what I have earned and put into my possessions and savings, why when I’ve gone should that be taxed yet again? It is an iniquitous tax for most, whose main “wealth” lies in their home, and penalises those who have chosen to use their earnings wisely and not just spent their way through life..

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We are, on average, living longer and children may have their own homes and families by the time we die. I am all for working hard and not squandering money but is it morally right that some inherit a lot of money and others very little. It’s difficult to choose your parents. In another Convo we are discussing improved funding of care so that hospital stays can be reduced. This and other public expenditure will have to come from those most able to contribute.

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I have also been thinking about the suggestion of raising the level of IHT and I am not sure that such a change would be tax efficient as it would incite more people to engage in complicated avoidance schemes. Moreover, measures have been taken in recent budgets to address some of the anomalies of IHT and an increase in the tax rate now would be seen as a cynical attempt to claw back the benefits of that. In my view, IHT should only apply to the seriously rich — estates of well over one million pounds where other taxes [Capital Gains Tax, for example] have not achieved the optimum yield. When people die and leave an inheritance to their descendants that money gets spent and taxes accrue – possibly at a higher rate than IHT itself, so I remain to be convinced about the value of that suggestion.

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x

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I, liked many, worked and made sacrifices to both support my family and try to give them security. I can give them as much money, gifts during my lifetime as I choose, to share the wealth I have, wealth that has already paid its dues to help the wider society. So why, when I die, should that wealth suddenly be plundered yet again by the state? Many children will not own their own homes and an inheritance might well be their means to do so. But the inheritance will be used by them and generate more tax for the state – in vat for example.

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Do some people deserve to be treated differently just because their parents have accumulated wealth?

I have no problem with people being rewarded for their efforts and have little time for those who believe that society owes them a living. Promoting consumerism is not an intelligent solution in an overpopulated, polluted world with limited natural resources.

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I find the word “accumulate” challenging. Most wealthy people have surely earned it through their hard work, career success, entrepreneurial endeavours, and the risks they have taken. Yes, some have had a windfall, some have struck lucky with their savings and investments or property values, and others are in occupations that pay obscene wages, but isn’t that just the rub of the green? Outside of a collectivist economy life will never be equally balanced. In my view current taxation is the way to deal with those anomalies, not retrospective claw-backs. More effort should certainly be put into catching the tax on money that is hidden away off-shore or channelled through sophisticated diversionary schemes that have no other purpose than to avoid tax. Belatedly the government is tightening up the rules at last and penalising the people who devise these obscure instruments as well as those who benefit from them.

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“Or channeled through sophisticated diversionary schemes that have no other purpose than to avoid tax ” You know what you are talking about John , dont you ?, you put it very nicely but you mean a certain country near here where many US conglomerates ( and some much nearer to home -( nudge nudge -wink -wink ) base their tax headquarters and their “digital base ” . I am not going to argue about the rich keeping their money but I am about getting taxed twice on my OAP that severely hits people like me on a low income but just a few ££ about the NEW threshold , you must realise thats a way of getting money out of the general public with little money to spare to pay for Trident 2 which price you quote is ONLY for the building of the two nuke subs the actual additional costs have been estimated in the years following as over £100 Million and they still wont be under our total control but the way things are going internationally with the outgoing Presi punting 1000 tanks into eastern Europe and building up forces , even on Russia,s border (secretly ) it might not be something we have to worry about , he does have another 11 days . What I don’t mind is the Treasury doing a bit of “constructive book keeping ” to make the US ordered 2 % of GDP on Arms look achieved , don’t think I am against protecting ourselves but many high ranking British military men are saying its at the expense of the whole armed forces structure (severe cut-backs ) .

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I have no problem with people accumulating wealth as a result of their efforts and management of their resources but if this is simply passed on to their offspring then we are going back to a ‘them and us’ society, which is unfair and may incite revolution. I have a strong interest in the engineering aspects of the industrial revolution but it’s difficult not to see how people’s lives were influenced by the wealth of their parents. As a biological scientist, I see people as more or less equal.

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I understand your point of view, Wavechange, even if I don’t fully share it. Since there is little likelihood of this government implementing a hike in IHT rates or lowering the thresholds I think we had better leave this one on the table for now.

The point of this particular discussion was to see whether we could identify additional future funding for an adequate social care policy. One source could be the savings from paying into the EU budget. There will be a reward for leaving the EU but we don’t know how much yet; it will depend on how many financial obligations remain and how much will be required to replace EU support to agriculture, fisheries, higher education, and so forth. I would suggest that whatever is left over is dedicated to social care in the UK.

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A few points on your comment, Duncan.

:: Many of the sophisticated diversionary schemes are not off-shore but cooked up and operated inland.

:: Most off-shore investments are perfectly legitimate and not used for tax evasion. Regulation is the key and many states have excellent controls.

:: In referring to off-shore tax avoidance I was not thinking about corporate tax avoidance but personal investments, nor was I considering any particular territory: off-shore is off-shore – it could be anywhere.

:: I believe the HMRC has now got a grip on corporate tax management by transnational companies but much of it is legitimate using the existing legislation; we might be able to change the rules more easily when we leave the EU but with that comes the risk of losing the commerce. I think it will always be a fine balancing act.

:: I haven’t mentioned Trident 2 or its costs. It is a controversial subject and Scotland, for example, is divided over it. Whether submarines are better than battleships I leave to the military experts. I feel that missiles are useful but they don’t always have to have nuclear warheads.

:: The NATO countries’ military deployment to the eastern fringes of Europe are hardly a secret – I have been reading about it for months. The current US tank deployment is 87, not 1,000.

:: It is an obligation of the NATO charter, agreed by the founding members, under which countries contribute 2% of their GDP to NATO. The USA rightly reminds other members of their obligations – compliance avoids US domination and equalises strategic authority.

:: High-ranking military officers have always bickered over the balance of forces and will continue do so, and publicly after retirement. It’s in their blood.

Keep calm and carry on.

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How are they “treated differently”? My family has shared in the sacrifices involved in the creation any “wealth” I have created. They have gone without holidays while I put together a family home for them – one of most family’s main item of “wealth”. I’ve saved where I can to help them in their education and their future, and made some wise investments to give them a better basis on which to start their lives. I could have spent all my surplus money, rented a house, made no provision for them but, in not doing that, they are being penalised when I die. Thrift, hard work, independent living should be rewarded, not taxed for a second time.

This has little to do with brexit, so perhaps time to move back to the topic?

Guest
Boots says:
13 January 2017

Cut spending of money we don’t have and are borrowing in aid abroad and spend it here to benefit people in our own country instead.

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The war was lost by Hitler when he attacked Russia where most of the fighting was done. For every American soldier killed in WW2 80 Russian solders died.3 million of them died in German captivity (starvation & ill-treatment).Read that excellent historian Antony Beevor “Stalingrad” & “The Fall of Berlin”. America’s crucial role was in the supply of arms to the Allies & the wonderful Marshall Aid plan after the war that helped Europe back onto it’s feet.

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Yes John Russia,s Holocaust cost them 27 Million Slavonic lives a fact played down considerably by the West. Without Russia fighting most of Hitlers armed forces there is no way D day would have been possible , massive loss of life .

Guest

The Brexit voters have won this vote by a mile. (or a kilometer if you prefer )

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John McKenzie says:
17 December 2016

Less than 4% of those who voted is not a mile or a kilometre

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This all depends upon the way figures are presented. 7.86% more people voted to leave than remain.

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But of the potential electorate significantly fewer than half voted to leave…

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In the 2015 General Election, the SNP got 37% of votes from the potential electorate, and 95% of the seats. Can you extrapolate the actual result to what would have been the outcome if all had turned out? Or do you simply regard the non-voters as mainly “don’t know, don’t care, can’t be bothered” and assume 50% of them would then be added to each side?

On this basis, 51.4% would have been in favour of leaving, 48.6% against, so 5.6% more of the whole of those eligible to vote in the UK would have been pro exit.

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Ah, that’s not what I was doing. You said “This all depends upon the way figures are presented” and I was agreeing and showing that figures can be presented in many ways. One thing is indisputable, however, and that is that only a minority of the electorate voted to leave. It does make those who maintain ‘This was a democratic decision’ look a litle silly, since it clearly wasn’t.

You see, that’s the trouble with statistics: they can be manipulated. The only truly reliable measure is to look at the numbers who were eligible to vote (the electorate) and examine how many of that number voted to leave. No matter how you try to manipulate the figures, it was fewer than half. Unless the figures themselves are incorrect?

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Try applying that logic to elections. So if you want a decision based on more than 50% of those eligible to vote a particular way, you’ll rarely get a result. What do you then do?

I was also agreeing that figures can be presented in different ways, depending upon how you want to portray the result.

Only a minority of the total electorate voted to remain – 34.7%, whilst a larger minority – 37.5% – voted to leave. Whichever way you look at it the vote was more in favour of leaving. Unless you have compulsory voting I don’t see how you can otherwise reach a democratic outcome. If people do not vote they need to live with the outcome.

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Many countries do have compulsory voting and there’re strong arguments in favour. But you’ve stated the position clearly: not even 38% of the electorate voted to leave. With such a momentous decision one might have expected at least 50% to be the deciding factor. Very, very worrying – especially for those who believe in democracy.

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And we still have not been given sufficient information to make an informed decision.

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We might worry more that 12 918 907 voters (27.8% – another minority) could not be bothered or didn’t feel it a momentous enough issue to vote.

What I am not clear from the comments is how decisions of this kind can be made, other than by the normal voting rules.

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And we won’t have the information until the EU reaches agreement on a compromise package, which will likely be 1 minute before the deadline.

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I’ve always believed voting ought to be compulsory. It was a hard-won freedom, the right to elect our Governments, and not to use it ought, in my view, to be a crime.

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Boots says:
15 December 2016

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Begee3 says:
15 December 2016

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UK citizens voted to leave the EU that’s a vote for DEMOCRACY. It is high time that the governance of the UK [MP’s and the legal system] started to obey the democratic voice after all they are just the hired help. [Revolution required for the UK to sort this also.]

In my opinion the UK should invoke article 50 [in March 2017 although this should have been invoked earlier] and then walk away from the EU without striking a deal and immediately stop paying any funds into the EU as at March 2017.

UK can issue a statement that they have an open door policy to any EU country that would like to do business with the UK.

UK should proceed to open up business with the rest of the world. This would provide certainty, everyone would know it is them up to them to operate globally it is sink or swim time.

As for the EU. The rules are man made so all of those could be changed. The EU leaders’ belligerent and hostile attitude is not conducive to negotiation. So they should sink or swim without the UK. In view of their governing performance to date, impoverishing many of the EU citizens and many of these countries facing bankruptcy, how long do you think the EU will survive under such governing failures. [Do you want to bankrupt the UK by paying off the EU debts as this will happen if the UK remain?]

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david windsor says:
17 December 2016

Why are you so afraid of our parliamentary form of government ,it has served us well for hundreds of years .
Whilst we voted leave it was by a small majority with 16 million citizens voting to remain who clearly must have a say in the manner that we leave

It is no use blaming all our problems on the EU .They have produced some excellent legislation on consumer issues and whilst the EU is not perfect by any means they have been of great benefit to the population of our country

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John McKenzie says:
17 December 2016

You don’t actually understand economics or the rule of law in Britain or international trade law. Please go away learn about the rule of law. Parliament is the maker of law and has to have the final say on invoking article fifty. It’s the law that people apparently want to be put before EU rules.

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John McKenzie says:
17 December 2016

Yep, the EU are not responsible for the housing crisis, 3 million less houses built by councils since 1986 decision to sell council houses. Shortage of doctors , nurses, midwives, teachers etc all internal decisions. 102,000 doctors from overseas and 97,000 nurses because we don’t train enough of our own. Crisis in pensions coming up in 10 years when we have more retired people than ever and less people working paying taxes or caring for all us old biddies. A massive balance of payments deficit all down to Britain. The evil EU did get us to agree to clean up our beaches and stop over fishing. Lets us live work and retire anywhere in the EU. Improved consumer protection. Reduced mobile phone charges. Stopped Junior doctors from having to work over 100 hours a week. Plus a lot more.

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Boots says:
18 December 2016

We don’t have a shortage of housing. We have over-population here in the UK which is threatening the future of our country, our people and all the other creatures living on these islands. Our green land is being eaten up at a frightening rate. At least leaving the EU will give us the chance of controlling our own borders and perhaps eventually reducing the population to manageable, sustainable levels.

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You’re only half correct. There are enough houses, but many stand empty, many are acquired to accumulate value and there are a huge number of second homes. None of that has anything to do with immigration.

The facts about immigration reveal that leaving the EU will make almost no difference whatsoever to those entering the country, because the vast majority – almost 3m – come from outside the EU. Most come from China or India.

Many arrive to study (UK Universities have a good name, internationally) and two thirds of the total come to fulfil job offers they’ve already had.

When you say “eventually reducing the population to manageable, sustainable levels.” it betrays a lack of knowledge regarding population statistics, which are readily available. However, to summarise – 27% of live births in 2015 were from mothers born outside the UK. Those mothers were primarily from India and Pakistan – once again showing leaving the EU will have no effect whatsoever.

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We probably do have enough houses, but in the “wrong” places. Perhaps we should be moving people away from the deficient areas to these by encouraging employers to move jobs there. It could start by government and the civil service setting an example. It would also take some pressure off overloaded and under-invested commuter railways.

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Boots says:
19 December 2016

Immigration from outside the EU should also be reduced drastically, but that’s a different issue to the EU one. We must control our borders irrespective of where potential immigrants come from.

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But since most of the immigration is from non-EU countries, perhaps making the comment at all in this topic was inadvisable? And I’m curious about your proposals to reduce the population to manageable, sustainable levels. Still, I suppose it is Christmas…

From A Christmas Carol:

“Are there no prisons?”
“Plenty of prisons…”
“And the Union workhouses.” demanded Scrooge. “Are they still in operation?”
“Both very busy, sir…”
“Those who are badly off must go there.”
“Many can’t go there; and many would rather die.”
“If they would rather die,” said Scrooge, “they had better do it, and decrease the surplus population.”

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For me the comments about excess population have overtones of the Final Solution that was implemented by the Third Reich.

The Victorian writer Antony Trollope described a possible solution in his dystopian novel The Fixed Period – except that his age-related euthanasia was otherwise non-discriminatory – in which he explored the morality and psychology involved in maintaining the population at manageable and sustainable levels. Not a pleasant read on the beach but illuminating of human behaviour.

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John-Do you know the so called democratic countries that are employing Apartheid to the citizens they deem “second class ” and doing their best to to remove them ,because they are protected by the west nobody wants to talk about it ? I call it crass hypocrisy. life is not one-sided just because unjustified propaganda favours one set of people and not another. Its happening now and this country cant talk either if it looks deeply into its own history- Africa/India spring to mind .

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Hilary Hopper says:
15 December 2016

I have waded through all the comments and have read nothing to change my vote – which as for OUT. I think we should stop just considering our own immediate benefits/losses and think much further ahead to what is best for the generations of British people to come. Surely it is better and gives more self reliance and pride in ourselves to be in a position to vote for and decide how we want our country to advance and not have to kowtow to self interested and self important people in Brussels busy lining their own pockets.
Brexit a.s.a.p. please
If I were asked to guess at the future of EU, I would say that it is already showing signs of crumbling and collapsing into squabbles amongst its various countries . Better get out now and get ourselves re-organised – it might be painful – but the sooner we get in with it the better – Then we shal be on the way to getting stronger.
I am 87 so I remember all the sacrifices of WW2, please dont let all that be wasted now.

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Just for the sake of information, I am not taking sides just presenting a fact. It has just been announced by Lloyds of London Chairman John Nelson that after 328 years in the City it will be moving part of its business operation to the continent -quote- It wont be Lloyds that will be losing out , it will be the UK –any comments ?

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chris egelnick says:
15 December 2016

Bank exchange rates,I believe that this is set by the banks and or Bank of England so there for we have little or no say in the exchange rate .
I understood the all the E.U.Laws that have been agreed in the last 47 years have been passed in to English law and therefor will not be abolished when we officially leave the E.U . as this will have to be repealed by law and not on block
I therefor think that there is a lot of scaremongering in the press,T.V. and Which it would a peer is heading off down this road. Please stop when the facts scant as they are do come out into the public arena then we will be in a better position to judge what to say and do.
Thank you for your concern and please correct any eras in my judgement .

Chris Egelnick

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John McKenzie says:
17 December 2016

The exchange rate is not set by anyone it is what the markets believe a currency is worth. Why do people who do not understand anything about economics think they understand what will happen. Already higher inflation, lower value of the pound against all currencies but especially the dollar and euro. This means higher inflation and higher cost of exports. It is good for exports. Our biggest sector for exports finance such as Lloyds. Of course if they move abroad to trade it will not be part of our GDP. Yet we still have not triggered article fifty when we do things will get worse. We import 40% of our food and do not manufacture many goods. We produce a lot of services, some can be exported most cannot especially if we are outside the single market because people will not have the right to work in the EU.

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Paul Hague says:
15 December 2016

Hi eveyone – I just wanted to bring up a few points that seems to have been lost, even during the referendum.
1) I believe the EU was a flawed system which was domed to failure. My evidence for this is that basically it relied on economic convergence & I only have to say the word ‘Greece’ & rest my case but I can think of many issues that are similar.
2) Thus with out economic convergence you will get un-controllable migration which is not sustainable & also means that any country doing well can not control its own destiny – I know lets all move to Sweeden because ??

Finally what about the consequences – well I am afraid to say that market forces etc will soon re-establish an equilibrium & some loose & some win but at least its not down to burracrates that create food mountains while half the world starves.

Just final comment to ‘Which’ – leave Europe to market forces and really worry about the internet & good old fashioned rights for consumers as you always fought so brilliantly for in thee past.
Paul Hague

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John McKenzie says:
17 December 2016

The bureaucrats administer they do not make policy, rules or laws that is down to MEP’s and the 28 countries of the EU. Neither do they decide things such as fishing quotas or how they are divided, that is the perogative of the 28 governments. How the EU works is available for anyone to check. The EU was set up in large part to prevent war in Europe. There is colossal ignorance on here about the EU and how it works. Newspapers print a lot of rubbish but the laws and how things work are in the public domain. A simple Google search will enable you to learn how things actually work but people seem to prefer ignorance and prejudice. Give finding out for yourself a go.

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Allan Murphy says:
15 December 2016

I agree with a lot of whats being said in this debate and if you look at how many comments for leave compared to stay it says it all same as the referendum and the people have spoke and as for all the MPs
that are going against what there constituent want do so at your own peril the people that voted for them can soon remove them at the next elections. I believe we will be fine it maybe a bit harder but also remember it may not we may end up better off the EU give us nothing only what belongs to us in the first place + how much do we pay in benifits to people who don’t even live in the UK,+ how much do we spend on interpreters and signage. and with regards to travel remember the EU Countries economy make a lot of money from the UK and if Brussels think they can bully us with one thing or another we can affect there
economy if we stick together I mean everything from cars to holidays.
Germany lost the war to take control of Europe and english men died helping to liberate France but yet these two countries are the main players in the EU how did this happen.
The EU is failing and the sooner we leave the better.
Allan Murphy

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Michael says:
15 December 2016

I am concerned about the following, regarding BREXIT
1. What does it mean to the elderly who often spend up to 3 months in Spain because the UK Winters make them ill. The EHIC cards that British Citizens have will no longer be valid for free hospital treatment. If the elderly have existing medical conditions, they will be unable to travel. Travel insurance will go through the roof and as far as I know, it will not cover anyone for 3 months.
2. What about those living in the UK that want to try working in say Spain, Greece or Italy. They will not beable to work in thesde countries unless they are e.g. Engineers, Doctors, Dentists or teachers. Could many of these leave Britain to live in the EU, leaving a shortage of these skilled individuals. They won’t take on unskilled workers and will not be entitled to any benefits whatsoever.
3. Why is the UK so eager to exit the EU when they know that many problems will arise such as food price increases, hate crimes towards other ethnic people, there could be retaliation against Brits living abroad who may have to return back to the UK, including people runnings bars and restaurants on the Costas. The vote was 52 in favour, 48 against, this is not an overwhelming majority.
4. I live on the Isle of Man and we are not a part of Europe and out people do not enjoy the same rights as UK citizens in Europe and i can see what it means. This Brexit is a big mistake.
5. I wrote to groups in favour of leaving the EU including the Prime Ministers office and no one would answer these questions.

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Michael says:
15 December 2016

Meant to add to point 1. The Elderly and others could be faced with huge hospital bills if they take ill in Europe. EHIC for Brits entitling them to free or subsidised healthcare will no longer be valid after Brexit. Although this example occurred in the USA. There have been many cases where people take ill in the USA and face medical bills running into Hundreds of Thousands of Pounds such as a woman from the UK who went to visit her daughter in California and suffered a heart attack when she got off the plane. She was taken to Hospital for Five days and was charged a whopping £300,000 – Search “British Woman Trapped in America £300,000 Medical Bill” to read this story. This will be similar for all UK citizens on holiday in Europe after Brexit. I was talking to an Holiday insurance agent on the phone who told me there are many cases just like this and this will get worse for Brits on Holiday in Europe. What about those with existing medical conditions? Age will go against them. I live on the Isle of Man and a couple of years ago we nearly lost the Health Reciprocal agreement with the UK. Many of our elderly could not visit relatives in England because of their age. Thankfully after negotiations with the UK Government it was rectified. If anyone from the Isle of Man dies in England it can cost £35,000 just to fly their body back home or even if they take seriously ill that they are for example Paralysed and cannot get to a boat or plane unaided. When I wrote this to Groups in favour of leaving the EU including UK Politicians and the Prime Ministers office I was met with a wall of silence. This area is of great concern and as I point out affects everyone living in the UK who might want to try a new life abroad. It will mean basically being trapped in the UK

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By the way, we managed to travel to Europe before we were in what became the EU quite easily with only a passport so I don’t see why we shouldn’t revert to how we were. Indeed we travel to European countries that are not in the EU now with no problems.

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Again I must state, we travelled to Europe before we joined what was to become the EU and had no problems. We took out insurance as you would sensibly now to other countries in Europe that are not in the EU and indeed to any other countries in the world! EU land is not the world, just a small part.

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The European Health Insurance Card is not an EU-only facility. It is valid throughout the European Economic Area. UK citizens will have no loss of entitlement when we leave the EU.

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Holiday medical insurance will cover this. Cheaper than belonging to the EU perhaps?

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Michael says:
16 December 2016

What about your elderly. They had no idea that they are unlikely to be able to go on holiday because of their age? Will an 80 year old get insurance for 3 months in Spain? Many of your elderly go there to escape the UK winters because the coldness makes them ill and they cannot afford to heat their homes because of con artist Energy companies allowed to overcharge by your Government under a regulatory body called OFGEM who cannot regulate anything? What about your Government promising after Brexit “There will be more money for the NHS” only to change their minds. I know, because I signed a petition. Just because something does not affect me, does not mean, I DO NOT CARE! People like you only care, when it affects you personally. There are too many people like you who think it is clever to ridicule others. When you travelled to Europe before you were in the EU, life was more laid back, it is not like that now. If you take ill you can be faced with Hospital bills totalling many thousands of pounds if your insurance company refuses to pay out, which has happened to many others.

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Michael says:
16 December 2016

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Michael says:
16 December 2016

Are you sure about that? On my local radio station they were saying “After Brexit people will be staying in the UK as opposed to going abroad and that the SE of England is the main place, adding more people may come to the Isle of Man” They did not state why, however I heard “Travelling to Europe on Holiday will be much more expensive after Brexit” If all of this is so, you have really voted to remain in Britain, in other words, You maybe stuck in Britain unable to afford to go to Europe. Did the Brexit campaign explain any of this? Did they tell you about increasing food prices, inflation, possible job losses, high interest rates and the fact that if you want to live abroad, you cannot unless you are highly skilled such as being a Doctor, Dentist, Engineer etc.. What about the violence being aimed at people that are considered “Not British” When word of this reaches EU Countries, Brits may get attacked in the same way and be forced to return. What about Brits running bars on the Costas etc.. Will they be forced to return? What about Brits living on the Costas in homes they purchased, will they be forced out. Some of this has already happened and that is before the Brexit Vote, it will get much worse. Nearly half the country voted to remain, why were they ignored?