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Brexit Brexit Equalities and Rights Equalities and Rights

Legislate to ensure consumer rights

Last updated 4 days ago

In parallel, we will legislate to ensure high standards of [...] consumer rights.

Conservative Party Manifesto 2019, p.5

Our verdict

  • This is a promise to introduce new laws on protections for consumers in parallel with the Brexit transition period, which ended on 31 December 2020.
  • Consumer rights law in the UK is laid out in the Consumer Rights Act 2015, which has not been amended under this government. However, the government did legislate, on the final day of the transition period, to implement the UK-EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement, which ties the UK to certain standards regarding consumer rights.
  • The UK-EU deal contains many clauses impacting on consumers (notably regarding the ‘level playing field’) which require a high burden of proof before they can be invoked, leading some experts to argue they are unlikely to be used to enforce rights. The deal does offer protections to consumers, but we can’t yet be certain it will “ensure high standards” – so, even though the deadline has passed, this policy remains ‘in progress’.

There's always room for debate

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