/ Money

Prime Minister May must restore trust to deliver a better deal for consumers

Theresa May

Our recent research has highlighted peoples’ fears over the economy. More than half of households expect it to get worse over the next 12 months. That’s more than double a year ago…

So it’s clear one of the many jobs our new Prime Minister has to do is to help build consumer confidence and restore trust in key markets, like energy, banking and rail, if we’re to have a strong economy.

Will Theresa May be pro-consumer?

Will Theresa May be a pro-consumer Prime Minister? Well as Home Secretary she rarely strayed outside her brief but indications are promising.

In her leadership speech at the start of this week she committed to tackling the governance of big businesses and announced plans to put consumers on company boards.

Her pledge to ‘use and reform competition law so that markets work better for people’ attracted less media attention but included a notable promise to address highly consolidated markets, such as utilities and retail banking.

This is a welcome commitment, given that our research also found that people’s trust in industries to act in their best interest has also declined by an average of 12% over the last year.

This shouldn’t come as a surprise. Which? champion, the Conservative Deputy Chair and MP for Harlow, Rob Halfon, claims that May will be an advocate of a more socially responsible capitalism.

Halfon has determinedly pursued energy companies and petrol price hikes and sees our new PM as someone who will take on so-called ‘crony capitalism’, something also echoed in her first speech as Prime Minister on the steps of Downing Street on Wednesday.

Taking on ‘crony capitalism’

Back in 2013, Theresa May pointed to this in her speech to a ConservativeHome conference. I remember at the time being struck by her commitment to tackle vested interests wherever they’re found. In the speech, she called for action to tackle the ‘appalling absence of care at Mid-Staffordshire hospital’ and ‘the treatment of elderly people at care homes like Winterbourne View’ – something that Which? has sought to address through our Make Complaints Count campaign.

And she also said that the Government should tackle businesses who ‘abuse their market position to keep prices high’ and ‘companies at the less scrupulous end of the credit industry (that) prey on the poorest and most vulnerable families’.

With our research revealing recently that unarranged overdrafts can cost you even more than a payday loan, perhaps our new Prime Minister will back action to tackle punitive bank charges.

Theresa May and Brexit

So there is good cause to hope that consumer issues will be a key part of a May premiership. They’ll certainly need to be central to her biggest challenge – negotiating Britain’s exit from the EU.

It’s vital that Brexit delivers for all consumers. This means ensuring that important rights and benefits, such as cheaper data roaming in other countries, compensation arrangements for flight delays and protecting food safety, are maintained during the negotiations – but also that as we gain new freedoms from EU laws, consumers reap the benefits.

It is also important that Theresa May recognises that a pro-consumer agenda will be a pro-growth agenda. We’ve seen big drops in consumer trust in essential markets, such as rail, energy and banking. That’s why reforms to these important sectors cannot be put on hold as we work out our future relationship with Brussels.

The new Prime Minister has a great opportunity to put consumers right at the heart of her agenda. This is a big ask. But if she can live up to her recent rhetoric, then we can have confidence that empowering and protecting consumers will be a pivotal part of our new Prime Minister’s plans.

Comments

Under the previous (coalition) government we had a ‘consumer minister’, Jo Swinson. Her responsibilities included considerably more than consumer affairs but it was reassuring to know that we had someone responsible. Jo found time to post several Conversations, though understandably not to enter into debate with us. When the last government was elected, some of us tried to work out who was our new ‘consumer minister’. Perhaps Theresa may make this clear.

I would like to suggest that we don’t need to bring in politics into consumer issues. We have the sad situation that many homes contain a tumble dryer that could catch fire because of the failure of the owner of the brands affected has not acted promptly. That needs to be addressed promptly, whichever political party is in power. The fundamental problem seems to be that we need government to take on industry when it behaves irresponsibly. It is the same with the Volkswagen Group. It is nearly ten months since I learned that the company had been cheating over emissions and I was told that my car would be attended to promptly. Governments in other companies have taken action, but not a lot seems to have happened in this country.

Perhaps my greatest concern is that Trading Standards is hopelessly overstretched. In recent years I have spoken to TS on five or six occasions and it was recognised that I had valid concerns, but no action was taken.

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Given all the work that the new Government will have to do to negotiate our Brexit, I am not very hopefully that they will find much time to spare to reign in greedy capitalist corporations, including those who sponsor the Conservative Party.

But don’t blame me – I voted Remain.

My view is that political parties should be forbidden from accepting organised sponsorship, including that from companies and political levies. If individuals want to sponsor political parties they can do that for themselves.

I think that if somebody doesn’t do something drastic soon to improve the lot of people on low and average incomes and control corporate greed there will be serious social unrest. When people start to lose faith in corporate and state organisations to promote their interests extreme factions find it easy to spread discord. Extremists can only feed on carrion (in the shape of perceived injustice) when it already exists. There’s a tendency in some places to blame immigration (quite unfairly) for all our present difficulties but frankly I have worked as a volunteer with asylum seekers and would not care to change places with them. Same applies to many people who come here on short term contacts come to that; they are doing work that most people don’t want to do often for low wages. Others bring valuable expertise to this country which we would probably be worse off if they were not available.
It is certainly grossly unfair to blame housing shortages on immigrants – this is caused by lack of planning and laissez-faire policies over many years which have made a crisis of a difficult situation.
Having a situation where people have to rely on food banks and on churches to feed families in a wealthy country like U.K. is frankly scandalous, especially in view of the volume of food waste that happens regularly in this country.

A law like this would certainly help to reduce corruption and probably help to restore public confidence in our political system and the way large corporations are governed. The public has a legitimate interest in how large businesses spend their funds especially when it is used unaccountably to influence public policy. Many large companies are subsidised in various ways from the public purse anyway so it is reasonable that they should be required to account for how these funds are used.

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I don’t know a time when it has been any different. It presumably is human nature. Only the methods by which wealth is created evolve. There are many individuals who start small business – physical and internet- some of whom become extremely wealthy. In a way, we provide the means these days for more of this to happen, through mass audiences – the web, tv, for example – where businesses, sports, “personalities”, entertainers can command huge rewards. “Social unrest” would simply result initially in a disruption but soon the same sort of people will pop out on top again. If it worked we would see countries that have endured this as examples. I don’t know of one. Perhaps someone does.

As a reply to malcolm r, Karl Marx predicted that growing unrest in highly industrialised societies increasingly polarised by inequality would ultimately trigger communist revolutions.

In general this has never happen to countries like the USA because the risk has been understood and mitigated by the actions of the wealthy and powerful.

DerekP, but what communist revolution has ended with everyone being better off? My perception is even more deprived people and a different wealthy group emerging.

Some people are predisposed to be dominant. I hope we have sufficient dominant personalities in our government to hold our own in the Brexit negotiations whilst, at the same time, making friends in the rest of the world. What have we got to offer them though? To my mind we need to fund our innovative scientific and engineering enterprises much more, not just in research and development but in products. We are good at the former, but not so hot in the latter and that needs to change. We must offset the dominance of the services industry.

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duncan, who was it said, if you don’t like the result of an election then change the electorate?

More Fool you then !!

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I agree with Malcolm R, currently, looking at the large number of our traditional & not so traditional trading partners already knocking at our door, I have not the slightest doubt the UK will bounce right back to where we should always have been. However, MR is quite right that we really do need to considerably increase funding to those deserving industries, which somehow, continue to pop-up however badly we may, or may not be doing, but who are vulnerable to take-over, as with ARM Holdings!
While I do trust the Japanese to honour their pledge to continue much as before in this Country, (unlike most European & American takeovers), it is yet one more of our amazing Companies that will fly a foreign flag on the forecourt!
This has been a feature which blights this Country, we flog off everything worthwhile! The list is endless & for every one of these short term gains, Britain ends-up with far more pains!
Will we ever learn? Frankly, I doubt it because shareholders hold all the power & there isn’t a more greedy animal on this Planet!

Couldn’t agree more. Our lack of housing construction for the lower paid over 20+ years is a disgrace in a civilised society. As are the thousands of food banks we now NEED to feed the poor. Great Britain 2016 – for whom is it great?

There is no need for a trade deal. The UK will say to the EU this is how it is going to be and they will have to lump it. Why? Because the EU sells much more to us than they buy from us. In Germany’s case, the trade deficit is £50bn. Seriously, are they going to risk their advantageous trading position? For all their pomposity ie. the UK are not going to be allowed to cherry-pick the terms they want, the EU has no alternative.

Nonio says:
2 August 2016

I’m afraid exports to the UK from the EU represent approximately 10% of total EU exports. Of course that represents 47% of imports to the UK from the EU. It is much MUCH easier to fill a 10% hole than a 47% hole and that puts us in a rather weaker negotiating position.

‘Change the electorate’ Sounds like a good idea!

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The priority will be ensuring a successful economic future for the UK whilst leaving the EU and setting up deals with the rest of the world. at the same time I believe we need not only better collective consumer protection – business, public services, NHS, education and utilities for example – but better protection directly helping individual consumers.

We need consumers to be able to report a problem, whether a product or service, directly to an organisation that is expert, interested and able to take action when justified. And also an organisation that shows publicly justified complaints aggregated, so we can see defective products, deceitful, poor quality or fraudulent suppliers, manufacturers and services; then we can judge where we place our trust and business.

Local services and businesses should be dealt with locally, by a properly funded and staffed Trading standards organisation. I’d suggest organised at county level.

But many consumer problems involve national companies and nationally available products and services. here we need a real National Trading Standards cooperating with the local ones – essentially an umbrella organisation. Why, for example, with the Whirlpool unsafe tumble driers that affects millions throughout the UK, is this being handled and decisions made for all of those affected, by a local TS department in just one city?

I also want to be able to communicate directly with the organisation that handles complaints. Not through a volunteer inexpert 3 rd party. The excuse sometimes put forward is we need to filter complaints. Well that takes people and time to do; so have the same number of people (or less) in the trading standards organisation who will be better trained, more expert, and not distracted by other roles maybe.

I entirely agree, Malcolm. As we do increasing amounts of business with more of the world at large, without some of the protections afforded by membership of the EU, we shall need to have an even sharper eye out for unsafe or unreliable imports and will need a keen and expert Trading Standards organisation to defend consumers’ interests both at the individual level and at the superior level across corporations, territories, and product categories. The City of Peterborough has a population under 200,000 – less than many London boroughs – and yet its TS department is expected to grapple with Whirlpool, one of the largest consumer appliance manufacturers on the planet; this is not right, neither for tumble dryer owners who are waiting forever for a repair or replacement of their defective and potentially hazardous appliance nor for Peterborough’s citizens and business who are deprived of their full consumer protection and trading standards resource.

So far as possible the EU buys and sells within its own borders. When the UK exits it will be free to do trade deals with any other country, mainly to replace export opportunities that will be restricted within the EU. It is almost inevitable that each export opportunity to a new trading partner will be accompanied by a reciprocal import agreement and this is where the safety net of a highly-developed TS operation with a global reach will be necessary to work with the new Department for International Trade to ensure that, in consequence, existing safeguards and standards are not compromised and can be effectively enforced wherever they originate.

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I did not give a thumbs down; wish people would also reply when they disagree (maybe they did?

I don’t know about the America vs. UK argument. My personal view is we need a very active organisation to act for consumers – giving them the same power as business and public services. It is no good having such a mission statement (horrible things anyway); we need action. Who else is there to work directly on behalf of consumers? Yet it falls into some of the same traps as the organisations it says it will counter – inflated salaries, high bonuses, inaction on key issues. Where do we find a dedicated consumer’s champion to advance our cause (that’s about 60 million of us, of course).

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Not me either. It would probably be better if we did not have ‘thumbs down’ votes. Yes negatives deserve explanation unless the comment is rude to one or more other contributors. Of course it is possible to get rid of ‘thumbs down’ comments.

I think we tried to have the ‘thumbs up/down’ buttons removed under the recent revamp of Which? Conversation. They used to show the scores on each side. The outcome was to modify the buttons so that it made clear that all they meant was “I agree/disagree” and the scores were integrated so they only showed the nett result. As Wavechange points out, a single thumbs down can now easily be neutralised. A further point is that people can only ‘vote’ once now and they cannot ‘vote’ on their own comments; that takes out a lot of the potential for corrupt marking.

Philosophically, if a thumbs down only means “I disagree”, there is essentially no compunction on the person to explain themselves – disagreeing with something is not an objectionable act. One problem is that there remains the feeling by the commenter who has been marked down that someone is being personal or hostile towards them [rather than the comment] but concealing it through the anonymity of the thumbs down button – a ‘hit & run’ offence. Another problem is that the “I disagree” expression carries too wide a range of interpretations from “I dislike” to “That is nonsense”. It is also generally unclear whether it applies to the whole comment, one part of it, or just the concluding sentence. On the same philosophical basis, however, it is arguable that the anonymous ‘thumbs down’ button is a useful pressure relief valve that can prevent a conversation turning into an argument or a squabble.

Personally I think we could live without the ‘thumbs down’ and keep the ‘thumbs up’ to show support for a comment. On those occasions when a truly appalling comment is made that deserves disapproval it is better for the objector(s) to come clean and say so – most posters here use a pseudonym and even those of us who travel under our own names are well protected from personal identification. Alternatively they can use the ‘report’ function.

We are all entitled to our opinions and freedom of expression within the law. I believe we have unfortunately lost a number of contributors who were upset by negative responses to their views. I hope we will remain conversational in behaviour, though, and not say something round this table that would be unduly provocative or be likely to cause offence to other participants.

I would have thought a simple explanation for a thumbs down vote would add interest to and prolong a good debate but this particular one is about restoring trust for a better deal for consumers isn’t it?

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I’ll give a thumbs up to all of you if we stay on the topic of the discussion…

PS. Duncan, we miss him too.

I do not think that the US can afford to laugh at the UK. Look at the two candidates for the US presidency.

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Politicians have these wonderful speeches written for them which are basically all mouth and trousers, what this new lot want to do is not spout on about Europe bla bla, but sort this divided kingdom out, bring business and companies into line that are giving shabby service, stop them ripping people off, bring Trading Standards and the like back up to speed because the last comedy duo of ‘Cameron and Osborne’ have just cut them back to the bare bones which all it has achieved is businesses are getting away with blue murder and consumers are suffering through lack of action. I guess though all part and parcel of rip off Britain.

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In order to restore any semblance of trust to deliver a better deal for consumers, we need more transparency. Consumers have been kept in the dark for too long about what goes on behind closed doors at parliamentary level, culminating in a crisis unprecented in this country, which highlighted the large number of people’s dissatisfaction with the status quo. Although I voted to remain in the EU based on the continuing improvement in the UK economy and low interest rates, I was curious to uncover some of the reasons why so many people voted for a Brexit.

I had to resort to YouTube.com to find out what goes on in the European Parliament relating to consumers rights. BBC has its own Parliamentary Channel which broadcasts live events from Westminster, Scottish, Welsh and Northern Ireland Assemblies, but where were the European Parliamentary debates? Why were consumers denied their democratic right as members of the EU Community to know what goes on at the heart of the EU? Most UK national newspapers carry a political bias so UK citizens were relayed second hand information based on that newspapers political affiliation.

One example is the long awaited UK Parliamentary Report regarding the VW emissions scandal which emphasises the complacency of the Department for Transport for its laid back approach in dealing with the issue of compensation for UK VW owners and the VCA regulator for its failure to keep tracks with vehicle manufacturers technological advancement and progress.

Whether PM Teresa May can deliver on her aspirations (I hesitate to use the word promises) to put consumers rights at the heart of her agenda or not remains to be seen. If that were true, as Wavechange makes the point, is it her intention to reinstate a consumer minister? This would undoubtedly be a step in the right direction, providing the evidence needed to support her statement.

I have a problem with this Conversation: “P.M. must restore trust to deliver a better deal for consumers”
The article author had an £800,000 bonus from this charity in the financial year 2015/16. Three other executives had a further £1.44m in bonuses.

Charity CEO with annual pay north of £300,000 for the last several years – perhaps loss of trust in charities is also a P.M. addressable target?

Reed gives the average salary of senior management in charities as £46825. TPP gives the average for a director as £59765. Third Sector gives a comprehensive list of the highest-paid employees of charities together with the charities’ turnovers. It makes interesting reading.
http://www.thirdsector.co.uk/charity-pay-study-highest-earners/management/article/1335060

One of Theresa May’s aspirations was to reduce the gap between senior and junior pay. This would help make for the feeling of a fairer society, wouldn’t it?

For those looking at the Third Sector article and charts the top position for general charities is held by the Consumers’ Association – which owns Which?. Channeling Mr. Caine “not many people know that”.

The Convo intro begins “Our recent research has highlighted peoples’ fears over the economy. More than half of households expect it to get worse over the next 12 months. That’s more than double a year ago…

So it’s clear one of the many jobs our new Prime Minister has to do is to help build consumer confidence and restore trust in key markets, like energy, banking and rail, if we’re to have a strong economy.”

I don’t quite see these statements are about the same thing. Our “economy” depends largely upon the way we trade with other nations. Exports vs. imports. The strength of the pound. Get this right and we will prosper. No one can predict what will happen as we are in unknown territory during Brexit.

“Consumer confidence|” and “trust” depend upon what happens at home and seems to me largely independent of the economy. We can attempt to sort out business, public bodies and services whether we have a strong or weak economy.

As Beryl says with regard to confidence, this is largely about transparency, and relying on those who represent us – government, public bodies, charities – being open about what they are doing and presenting us with the facts – balanced, unbiased and fair so that we can reach considered decisions. I look forward to openess and honesty, but only confidence will come when it is seen to happen.

Australia has already approached us about potential trade deals, according to today’s news which sounds promising.

I believe that we were denied an advantageous deal with New Zealand for their lamb under EU rules. I wonder whether this will now happen (well, eventually) and how our home grown lamb will compete – particularly the Welsh. Will we go back to UK protectionism rather than the EU’s version?

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Are you sure that TTIP will be introduced? That was being negotiated between the US and the EU and we will not be part of the EU much longer.

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This article seems curiously political in talking of what has been promised, yet Which? has remained totally silent on TTIP which would actually have an effect.

Still it does talk of a lack of trust – ” We’ve seen big drops in consumer trust in essential markets, such as rail, energy and banking” . I may be being particularly dense but I really think that the notion of trust is irrelevant to a seller /buyer relationship.

What I would like Which? to do – beyond saying energy companies are unfair – is to actually be far more practical in helping people do the best they can in saving energy. As a generalist Which? has the ability to let the general public know of heat saving blinds, spacia glass, heat pump technology, the progress of Energiesprong UK in refurbishing the poor quality housing we live in, to actively lead in mass fitting of good tech, to lobby for capital costs to be off-set.

Politics and world markets may conspire on energy prices but if houses are nearer to zero heat loss then the effect on the population is much less crippling. This area could have been addressed for the past three years but the charity really does not seem to want to grasp anything so fundamental.

TTIP is being negotiated with the EU and would have to be negotiated separately now with the UK. Is that correct? Time to review what it means and modify our terms perhaps. Is Which? au fait with TTIP and its detailed consequences? Is it making appropriate representations? Does Which? support totally the BEUC stance ? Particular concerns are the removal of non-tariff barriers to trade, where lower standards in one country could be imposed on another, and where dispute resolution might be removed from an existing well-functioning legal system to be overriden by an investor-state dispute system of resolution.

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Although the news since Brexit does appear to be universally bad (as expected) one massive problem with negotiating trade deals is that as a small island we’re now far more vulnerable than when part of a big group. One danger of that is that the government could easily agree to TTIP terms unfavourable to us merely because we can’t do any better because we lack the clout.

Presumably, outside of the EU, the UK will not be obliged to be included within the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership [TTIP] and will be setting up its own bilateral trade agreements wherever it can. The President of the USA has made it clear that we are at the back of the queue so there’s not much point in ringing their bell. Ian has made a very pertinent point – in any negotiations hereon in we are going to be on the back foot. Our highest priority will be to sell our goods and services abroad, but we should not take any old terms and conditions in return. I share Malcolm’s concerns about the non-tariff barriers to trade. Restoring trust for UK exports in overseas markets is just as important as doing it for consumers at home. Unfortunately many of the companies and industries that suffer from a lack of consumer trust are foreign -owned or -dominated – energy, railways, telecoms, domestic appliances, motor cars, pharmaceuticals . . . but not banking, which is full of almost entirely home-made distrust and would be a good place to start.

Do you feel positive about anything, Duncan? You are full of negativity. I refuse to believe that the UK will accept TTIP.

Spoken like a true Scottish, ‘remain’ voter. The news since Brexit has not been universally bad!

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When a business, a club, a charity has a wish to spend large capital sums that might be controversial they are voted on by shareholders or members at either an AGM or an EGM. So why, when we are faced with huge controversial expenditure by the government – Trident at £31 billion+, HS2 at £60 billion+ – do we, the “consumers” not get a direct say as we did on the EU. Referenda for key issues? They don’t always produce the answers the “managers” might want, but they would produce the result the majority of UK people want. That is democracy, isn’t it?

The Swiss do that. They had a referendum on the multi-billion Swiss francs St Gotthard base tunnel underneath the Alps that was completed recently. Given the honesty of the information provided for voters in a recent UK poll I think we would have to raise our game before such a process could be regarded as reliable.

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Do they have referendums in America on major infrastructure and military projects Duncan? I personally prefer Parliamentary democracy but all forms have their faults.

We tend to have ‘no representation without taxation’.

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Your “poll” seems so biased against Brexit, I’d like to cancel my subscription.

The referendum is over.

“Remain” lost. Get over it and move on.

What subscription?

Hello Keith, thanks for your feedback. I’d just like to reassure that we’d like to know how people feel about the UK economy. We’ve heard lots of differing views over the past few weeks and it would be useful for our work to know what our supporters think. We’ve made some adjustments to the email based on your feedback. I’d be more than happy to help with any further queries if you email me at conversation.comments@which.co.uk

Keith, I would like to understand better just what you’re saying. Is your point that if there are unfortunate consequences of the outcome of the Referendum (as seems quite likely) we must just shut our eyes to them and never mention them? That does not seem a reasonable attitude to me.

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Completely agree with Keith Williams. The Brexit vote was an expression of democracy in that the majority view prevailed. Clearly, those Remainers who want a re-run do not believe in democratic outcomes. Why would any sensible person vote to remain in the EU which is run by unelected commissioners and not by its powerless parliament. Its accounts have remained unaudited for two decades due to the auditors inability to verify the honesty of the accounts. Only a fool would acquire shares in a company whose balance sheets are as opaque as the EU’s accounts. What we joined was supposed to be a free trade area, not a political union

London, Wycombe District, and a few other places in the UK – to which Scotland belongs – perhaps should also have independence referenda and then stay in the EU. I think I’d go with the overall UK majority – although I voted to stay but with no great conviction – and see what develops. We should not base our economy on local advantageous subsidies, but stand on our own feet. On reflection, I think perhaps coming out of the protectionist umbrella of a group with a majority of poorly-performing nations might not be such a bad thing.

Perhaps the EU should be using BHS’s auditors Mike? 🙂

Nonio says:
2 August 2016

I understand why Mike believes what he does about the EU accounts as I heard (& for a time believed) the same claims made both by the LEAVE team and in some newspapers. However I tried to set aside time most days to fact check claims made (by both sides) by going to original sources as far as possible.

I’m afraid it is not accurate to say that the EU accounts have not been audited for 20 years (altho’ this was one of several serious misstatements made by the Leave team – altho’ corrected once or twice in debates). In fact since 2007 thay have been ‘signed off’ as being a true and accurate account of spending, altho’ there was evidence of c 4.4% of the total EU budget being paid out not in accordance with the rules, altho’ this should not be taken to mean that the payments should not have been made. The reports further indicated that a very small,proportion of that was due to suspected fraud.

These sort of inaccurate and misleading claim in order to win votes should be the cause for grave concern by everyone in our society and goes to the root of what true democracy means. Just as I do not think that a fraudster should be allowed to benefit from material misrepresentations, not do I think MPs, whatever their political colour, or the press should be allowed to get away with misrepresentation to win votes. In fact I think there is a good case for suggesting they have committed an offence of Misconduct in Public Office.

It is pretty plain that at least a portion of that very small LEAVE majority was obtained through material misrepresentations of fact…

The single market should be great for consumers except that companies have spotted the loopholes and used them.

Take Amazon and Luxembourg, all EU sales were recorded through Luxembourg, not the real country. Or take Ireland and Microsoft/Google/Facebook etc. lower corporation tax or better yet the Double Irish Dutch Sandwich (yet it is real) which basically meant companies paid no tax anywhere.

The EU should put the voter/consumer at the heart of everything it does and not bow down to big corporate lobbyists. That’s why people voted out, too many dodgy deals and no appetite for change

The referendum wasn’t about the economy, more about autonomy. The EU has seriously erred by allowing erosion , or even encouraging erosion of sovereignty. You cannot expect UK residents to give up anything they do not wish to. As a trading union it probably had a good future, but a country the size of the UK cannot be seriously dictated to by rules they do not agree with. The EU has been short sighted by not conceding special conditions on freedom of movement. Paradoxically too much freedom and unmonitored movement have contributed to the rise in terrorist aggression.

The Working class & Disabled & Unemployed in this Country are all being starved to death by the Conservative Government – People are having there Benefits stopped /sanctioned for pretentious reasons just to get the dole ques down For political purposes- Disabled people are are told they can work just because they can hold a pen ?/ Doesn’t matter about pain or mental illness– Food banks are opening up at the rate of five a week ?? WHATS GREAT ABOUT GREAT BRITAIN Theresa May is the NEW Mrs Thatcher She will sell out and Privatize every British asset to the World. Providing she can get a good backhander and stocks & shares like the previous gangsters– David Cameron & Tony Blair She will sell out to the EU Bureaucrats and Brexit will be a disaster with millions more migrants coming into the UK

WATCH THIS SPACE

C Critchley says:
6 August 2016

You are absolutely correct. The systematic demonisation of a whole swathe of people, currently ‘1,700,000’ unemployed, but actually a whole lot more and those in working-poverty, could be consumers engaging in a sustainable economy, yet are ‘the price paid’ [not by the net-winners of course, but by those unfortunate enough to be in that position], for the neoliberal sewer which allows socialism for The City of London, but capitalism for the rest. The experiment is over as it has failed. Privatisation of profits for big business and risks of failure underwritten by the taxpayer [those who pay tax of course], is the unchallengeable truth. This is what is known as ‘mortgaging the future’. A self-sustaining system of debt designed by the net-contributors to the legislature, who manipulate the exchequer to conceal the cream skimmed-off for their own edification. Hidden amongst this in plain sight, is their public-face; the ‘newspapers’ and now more worryingly, The BBC. Just ask those who are ‘all in this together’, i.e. those whose houses/shares go up in value at 15% per annum what they have sacrificed. The EU has been a convenient patsy for a small coterie of vested-interests, for whom ‘remain or exit’ is largely irrelevant.

All this is tub-thumping and posturing on all sides, with each one jockeying for the best deal for their own interests. TM is a consensus politician whose first instincts are to look for common ground. ‘Brexit’ as such will never happen as all sides have far too much to lose There will inevitably be some brake on free movement to placate the ‘Leave’ faction, but virtually the same trading rights and agreements as now. Are the Germans going to refuse to sell us cars? The French to restrict the sale of Champagne, other wines, cheeses, cars? Denmark to refuse to sell the UK butter or bacon products? The Czechs Pilsner beer?The list goes on. I have lived a long time and know how politics works. This is what will happen. As for tub-thumping: Chumbawamba were a great bunch of anarchists who ultimately sold out – not unlike most people. Unfortunately.

Simon says:
29 July 2016

I did not vote to leave, however now that the decision
Has been made now is the time to sort out some of the anomalies that have occurred
To date due to EU regulations.
1. Stop the subsidies to very wealthy farmers and land investors who buy land not for growing crops but for the guaranteed payments from the tax payer and the ability to pass on this land free of inheritance tax.
This is a ludicrous situation giving guaranteed payments to people who are already multi millionaires.
2. Also the payments made to areas such as Cornwall are very inflexible, there are many other areas which should be eligible for such funding but do not meet EU regulations.

Simon

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Brexit is already a disaster for those involved in trade in goods with other countries. £ Sterling fell 10% against the Euro, in particular, and virtually everything sourced from overseas is therefore more expensive, including food and consumer goods. and this will work its way into increased consumer prices in the shops. The next thing to watch out for is increased unemployment, stagflation, and a decrease in foreign manufacturing investment in our country. Our UK property is already now cheaper and easier to purchase by all foreigners, at the expense of its supply to UK citizens. City of London receipts to HMRC by companies and Bank profits have been reduced from 20% to 15% in an attempt to keep them in UK, and this ultimately means less government money for health, welfare, and pensions, and a probable increase in personal income tax. I just hope we don’t lose more City of London business to Frankfurt and Paris. Nobody in government is talking realistically any more now about reducing the UK’s deficit to a manageable level, and notably some capital projects have already been shelved such as nuclear power for the next generation. I just hope that any in any new deal with EU, the Government will not be forced to agree to take any quota of European immigrants as part of it. Napoleon and Otto von Bismarck’s objectives of isolating Britain have been achieved at a stroke by this Kamekaze Brexit decision.

It would do us good to produce more (eventually) and import less. We’d then take advantage of a lower exchange rate. We are too dependent upon importing goods.

The other night someone was complaining that their leather goods business was being hit by the exchange rate and they were having to increase their prices – because it was all imported from South America. Well, I’d suggest they employ – directly or indirectly – people to make their leather goods in the UK instead. Helps their business, helps our economy. 🙂

The capital for Hinckley Point was inward investment by a French company and a Chinese investment bank. They have not cancelled their investment, it is HM Government playing power politics with the French. As I suggested in my previous post.