THE BLOG

Whoever Wins Power, the Time to Make Consumers Central to the Economic Plan Is Now

05/05/2015 17:51 BST | Updated 05/05/2016 10:59 BST

With the election clock ticking, Which? is calling for immediate action from the next Government to put consumers at the heart of their agenda. Significant reforms are still needed as households continue to ​fac​e​ financial pressures.

Our latest research from the Which? Consumer Insight Tracker shows that people are feeling the benefit of the economic recovery, with three in ten describing the economy as good, compared to just 8% two years ago, and nearly half now happy with their household income.

However, as ​the ​economy ​recovers, people are increasingly worried about public services​, their pensions and savings.

We found that six in ten 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 their level of savings.

But the familiar theme of household costs does remain high on the public agenda, with energy prices the top consumer concern, and more than half the population worried about fuel and food prices.

In the last parliament, consumer issues were a high priority and, following pressure from Which?, the Government took action in a number of key areas like banking, pensions and energy.

We want the next government to use the first 100 days of the new parliament to commit to a strong agenda ​that unleashes consumer​ power​ and does more to tackle the problems people face in their daily lives.

Which? wants a new Consumer Minister​ appointed to the Cabinet​ with the authority to deal with issues ​across the whole consumer, competition and regulatory landscape, and ​who is able to drive through reforms across other Government departments.

They should help with household bills by introducing fairer energy prices, enabling people to become financially secure by encouraging savings, and putting people at the heart of public services, for example by making complaints count.

Making consumers more powerful will be good for the economy. It will give people greater confidence to spend, which in turn helps good businesses grow.

Whoever wins power, the time to make consumers central to the economic plan is now.