/ Money

What the new government must do for consumers

As the new Conservative government starts to take shape today, we believe that it must act swiftly to put consumers and their concerns at the heart of its agenda.

Our latest research shows that more people are starting to feel better about the economy but many are increasingly worried about public services, their pension and savings.

We believe that the new government must take swift action in its first 100 days.

Our top priorities for the government

–      Appoint a consumer minister to the Cabinet​ with the power to deal with issues ​across the whole consumer, competition and regulatory landscape, and ​who can drive through reforms across other government departments

–      introduce fairer energy prices to help you with your household bills

–      encourage savings so more people can become financially secure

–      put people at the heart of public services, for example by making complaints count.

Consumers must be at the heart of their plans

Making consumers more powerful is good for the economy and now is the time to make consumers central to the economic plan.

We found that three in 10 people now describe the economy as good, compared with just 8% two years ago. And just under half of people are happy with how much they earn.

But big changes are still needed.

What are your biggest concerns?

We found that six in 10 are worried about public spending cuts, making it the second highest area of concern, and half about the quality of public services.

More than half are worried about the value of their pension and 45% about how much savings they have.

And household costs are still high on people’s list of worries – more than half are worried about energy, fuel and food prices.

In the last Parliament, consumer issues were a high priority and, after pressure from Which?, the government took action in key areas such as banking, pensions and energy. We want to see this momentum continue.

Are you worried about your energy bills or the value of your pension? What are the issues that matter most to you?

SteveH says:
27 May 2015

There is no way for a chronically ill person to get help finding a GP, and no way to make one’s existing GP help. This means that thousands of people like me are stuck at home in agony, with nowhere to turn. The harder we beg the NHS for help, the more we are pushed away, and yet, at the same time, we are forever having to justify our illness to the DWP, and everyone accuses us of shirking, when nobody will help us get better so we can get back to work.

Why has there never EVER been a single campaign–not even a demand from the media or any charity–to get people back to work by making a concerted effort to find out what is really wrong with them and put it right?

Why do billions have to be wasted in keeping people ill by denying them help? Why do thousands of people have to waste away the rest of their lives just because the NHS does not have any diagnostic facilities other than antediluvian GPs who have no equipment to make diagnoses with, and A&E, who just refer you back to the GP, who doesn’t have a clue, and couldn’t care less?!

Please campaign for a proper inpatient diagnostic service for all the pitiful souls who fall prone to illnesses that cannot be diagnosed in a 5 minute GP or consultant visit. There are thousands of us with chronic illnesses who are just dismissed as mad, because there are NO diagnostic facilities, and NO consultants who can cover more than one little bit of the body. My GP just told me to go away and die, and there is absolutely nothing I can do about it.


We’ve just taken a look at what was in yesterday’s Queen’s Speech for consumers – including improving the system for people making complaints about public services.

You can find it here. https://conversation.which.co.uk/energy-home/queens-speech-2015-childcare/


The Queens Speech also promises 24/7 GP access but fails to say how they can afford this.

I sympathise with StevH as he is probably a victim of this governments public service cutbacks. I have quite a common and inherited thyroid problem that requires regular testing and medication adjustment if necessary which used to take place every 6 months but has now been changed to every 12 months and no-one at the practice has given me a rational explanation as to why but I suspect cutbacks are to blame.


It seems ludicrous that proper healthcare, whether from your GP or in a hospital, is on a 9-5 basis and not good at weekends. It will cost money – but perhaps we could reflect on the generous contracts given to GPs allowing them to opt out of after-hours care and surgeons who don’t like working at weekends. We could also look at £3.3billion, according to the DT, spent last year on agency staff. That seems so big to be questionable, but reports of paying doctors £3200 to do a shift, and nurses up to £2200 for 12 hours do make you question the competence of those running the NHS.

Rather than bickering over how it can’t be done I’d much rather the BMA and others sat down with government with a “how we can” attitude. Time for a Conservative/BMA coalition perhaps?


Oh, as an afterthought, would you rather have a decent NHS or get to Birmingham 1/2 hour quicker on HS2?


I was referred to a consultant to look at my finger through the NHS who flew over from Germany for the day once a fortnight. How much NHS money is wasted on ludicrous staff contracts?


It may well come to that Malcolm. I have relatives who live in the West Midlands who all speak more highly of the health treatment they receive there so maybe half an hours trip on HS2 would probably afford me much faster and more efficient treatment than I receive in my area!

But HS2 I accept remains a very sore (forgive the pun) point with many people especially those who live near its proposed route and are seriously inconvenienced by it. But in a global economy change is necessary in order meet the needs of a growing population and a greener and healthier climate and also assist with the governments plans to create a northern powerhouse providing more jobs there and relieving some of the congested London and the South Eastern regions.


Beryl, but it is a question of priorities, isn’t it? Like Trident, aircraft carriers and American fighters that don’t really work well – should we spend money on those, or the NHS for example. Are we being pressured by our allies, or are we pressured by our services chiefs to have big-boys toys and end up being overinsured? If we had unlimited funds I would maybe feel differently but in my view we need to build up this country with better health care, better education, more investment in productive industry through research and development and we can then think about affording the luxuries. No different to your personal budget really is it?