Concerns about the implications of leaving the EU are growing, new research for Which? shows.
Almost six months on from the EU referendum, Which? has found that fears among the public about the impact of Brexit have grown considerably since September.
Which? is now calling on the government to make sure that consumer interests are placed at the heart of the negotiations.
Find out how Brexit will affect you and your finances – go to our Brexit guide.
Brexit fears on the rise
From worries about the value of sterling to the cost of food, our research revealed that people’s fears about the potential effect of Brexit have increased:
- Almost half (47%) of the people surveyed said they were worried about the impact of Brexit, representing a rise of eight percentage points since September.
- Six in ten (58%) of those asked said they were now concerned about the price of food, up from 50%.
- Over half (53%) of those asked said they were troubled about the exchange rate of the pound. This was a rise from the 44% who felt the same way back in September.
The price of holidays is also a cause of concern. Four in ten (39%) said they were anxious about the impact leaving the EU might have on the cost of taking holidays abroad.
You can see the full results of our research at our Brexit Tracker.
Standing up for consumers
The study also highlighted doubts people have about how effectively consumers will be represented during the process of exiting the European Union. Seven in ten (72%) thought that the interests of consumers during Brexit negotiations were either very or fairly important. But just a third (31%) thought that the interests of consumers would be represented during official Brexit meetings and negotiations. Only six in ten (62%) thought the interests of large businesses were either very or fairly important.
Which? believes it is essential that the government places consumers at the heart of its negotiations and sets out how they will champion consumers’ interests. The impact on consumer confidence during the negotiations should be of paramount importance, and existing consumer rights, such as rules on mobile roaming or flight compensation, and protections, such as food and product safety, should not be watered down.
Which? director of campaigns and communications, Vickie Sheriff, said: ‘Consumer confidence is key to economic stability and growth, so the uncertainty about Brexit that increasing numbers of people in the UK are feeling must be addressed. We have found there is a growing concern about the impact of Brexit and worry that consumers’ interests will not be represented in the negotiations.
‘The government must ensure that consumers have a seat at the table and are not unduly squeezed by price rises or lose key rights and protections.’