Friday 13 August 2021 12:01 am

UK consumers ‘left in the dark’ over post-Brexit trade deals

More than two-thirds of UK consumers feel left in the dark about post-Brexit trade deals amid public concerns the government is failing to take into account key consumer concerns.

According to a survey published today, the majority of the British public is concerned that the government is not providing enough information on trade negotiations, with many concerned their interests were not being represented.

More than two-thirds said the public received too little information with only seven per cent saying they knew the UK had reached a deal with Japan, according to a survey of 3,000 adults carried out by consumer group Which.

A quarter said they felt ministers were “not at all open” about the impact new trade deals will have. This was highest in Northern Ireland, where more than half of respondents agreed.

There was also a lack of confidence among devolved nations that the needs of their countries would be reflected in trade deals.

“The success of future agreements will be judged on what they deliver for ordinary people in their everyday lives, not just the export opportunities they provide,” said Sue Davies, head of consumer rights and food policy at Which.

“Our research shows that consumers feel they have been left in the dark about what trade deals will mean for them. 

“The government must take this opportunity to communicate transparently and openly with the public about trade negotiations and push for a consumer chapter to be included in future deals which reflects the issues that are most important to consumers.”

Which reiterated its calls for a consumer chapter in trade deals covering key priorities such as maintaining food, data, environmental and online shopping protections.

A spokesperson for the Department of International Trade said: “Free trade will grow our economy in every part of the UK and deliver jobs, better living standards and higher wages. As an independent trading nation, we are striking ambitious deals that will not only support our key industries, but also benefit consumers who will be able to enjoy more choice and better value thanks to the tariffs we are cutting.

“Our climate change and environment policies are some of the most ambitious in the world, and we will not sign trade deals that compromise our high environmental protections, animal welfare and food safety standards.”