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Brexit: consumer needs must be front and centre

Brexit westminster

Plans for the UK’s departure from the European Union are now underway. While the government is setting up an all-business forum to consider the needs of the economy, we’re concerned the voice of consumers isn’t being heard.

Writing in The Times today, I’ve again pressed for David Davis, as the reappointed Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union, to consider the important role consumers should play in the Brexit negotiations.

Sir,

During the financial crisis of 2009, Which? established the Future of Banking Commission to give consumers, who had been ignored despite paying the price in bailouts and austerity measures, a voice at the heart of the debate. That Commission was chaired by David Davis MP.

Today, eight years on, Mr Davis has created a business forum designed to ensure that the Government’s negotiating position on Brexit reflects the needs of the economy. However, the voice of consumers, who not only voted for Brexit but will also pay the bills and feel the effects, is once again missing despite the fact that consumer confidence is what is keeping our economy growing.

Mr Davis now has the opportunity to remember the vision that led him to produce that important report on banking. To ensure consumer needs are front and centre in the negotiations, he should now invite consumer representatives, such as Which?, to join this critical forum.

Peter Vicary-Smith
Chief Executive
Which?

Have your say

Do you think that consumers are being appropriately represented in the Brexit negotiations? Should Which? and other consumer representatives have a role in this business forum?

Comments
Guest
Valerie Bradley says:
7 July 2017

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

Guest
L. Hughes says:
7 July 2017

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

Guest
towler says:
7 July 2017

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

Guest
Peter Gleave says:
7 July 2017

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

Guest
Elaine Fullaway says:
8 July 2017

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

Guest
Fiona Chesterman says:
8 July 2017

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

Guest
Barbara Millner says:
7 July 2017

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

Guest

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