The EU Justice Sub-Committee publishes its report on Brexit: will consumers be protected?
The House of Lords EU Justice Sub-Committee calls on the Government to explain exactly how it intends to ensure that UK citizens' consumer rights will be protected and enforced after the UK leaves the European Union. Consumer rights are best protected through shared legislation, shared mechanisms and cooperation with cross-border agencies. The Government has provided no detail on how it will protect consumer rights via these mechanisms post-Brexit.
The Committee argues that mirroring the rights we currently have in EU law is not enough. The laws mean nothing without the international mechanisms and agencies that support them, raising important questions about future protections
The report highlights the Committee's concerns about the Government's approach to consumer protection after Brexit, and focuses on:
- The Government's inability to provide any plan as to how it will successfully secure the UK's continued participation in the network of agencies, mechanisms and infrastructure that underpin consumer rights across the Single Market.
- The need for the Government as a matter of urgency to produce a clear plan as to how cooperation with these bodies and mechanisms will continue post-Brexit.
- The fact that simply transferring individual consumer rights into UK law will not be sufficient as the laws will be unenforceable in the EU without access to EU-wide processes.
Chairman of the Committee Baroness Kennedy of the Shaws said: "Margot James MP, Minister for Small Business, Consumers and Corporate Responsibility gave us no reassurance that consumer rights will be protected once we leave the European Union.
"The UK has spent 40 years shaping the body of law, including 90 European Directives, to protect consumers across the EU. These consumer rights ensure high standards, and the EU mechanisms currently in place allow us to seek compensation, and lead to improved services. In a world where the products we buy are internationally manufactured, the holidays we go on can take us all over the world and consumer protection is proven to be more effective through cooperation, the Government must do everything it can to make sure the UK and the EU continue to work together."