We are working tirelessly in the run up to the general election to ensure consumer rights are at the heart of the debate. That’s why, today, we have published the Which? Consumer Agenda for Government.
On 8 June, voters across the country go to the polls to elect their local MP and ultimately the next government. Very soon the political parties will begin to set out their agenda for voters and the issues that they will seek a mandate on for the next five years.
Today we have published our “Consumer Agenda for Government” urging all political parties to use the forthcoming election to address critical consumer issues, which are the source of many of the problems facing people across the country.
The consumer’s voice
Consumer spending accounts for more than 60% of the economy, equal to £100bn a month. Maintaining consumer confidence is critical to the success of the UK economy. To ensure that we have a thriving economy, all parties must make sure that the voice of consumers is heard. The election presents a big opportunity for all parties to address these issues directly and to maintain consumer confidence in the years ahead.
Consumers are increasingly concerned about how the energy, banking, telecoms and rail markets are working for them. These are issues I know we debate at length here on Which? Conversation. As the election was called we asked which consumer issues the next Government should prioritise, people said that they want action on social care, energy prices and financial fraud and scams.
In an online poll between 19 and 20 April 2017 2,130 were asked to provide up to three consumer issues they believe the government should prioritise next, out of a prompted list of ten issues. Here are the results.
Your priorities are our priorities
On social care, finding a care home often comes at a distressing time and big questions have been raised about whether care homes are treating their residents fairly. We want all the political parties to commit to action so that older people receive the high quality of care they deserve.
Julius told us:
‘Choosing a care home can be fraught with difficulties – especially for lay people. There are so many different things that have to be taken into account. It is very easy to forget to ask questions about some aspects of a care home’s services.’
On energy, it is clear that the sector is still not working with millions of customers paying significantly over the odds. The next government should set out its position on competition in the energy market and any intervention must not result in prices overall going up or undermining improvements in customer service.
Finally, with fraud now the most common crime in the country, all parties should commit to an ambitious agenda for tackling scams. This should include action to improve how customer data is kept safe as well as making sure that financial institutions do more to protect consumers from bank transfer scams.
Read the full consumer agenda for government and find out more about the issues we’re highlighting:
Which? is pressing all parties to set out an agenda to reform markets so they work better for consumers, ensure consumers’ concerns are heard in company boardrooms, and enhance our consumer rights as we leave the EU.