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Monday, January 15, 2018

That awkward moment when your Brexiteer PM tries to claim credit for an EU initiative

There is some controversy over recent changes to terms of payment which bans retailers, airlines and other businesses from hitting shoppers with hidden surcharges when they use credit or debit cards. These surcharges can be as high as 20 per cent and costs consumers around £166m each year.

The downside is that retailers will now try to recover the cost by raising their prices and this will hit people who tend not to use credit cards for purchases.

The reality of course is that as a society we are addicted to credit and that the vast majority of people will use credit cards for major purchases, not least because there is an insurance element attached to these transactions. So balance this is a development to be welcomed. Which of course is what the Prime Minister did.

As the Independent reports, the Prime Minister tweeted: "From today we're banning hidden charges for paying with your credit or debit card – a move that will help millions of people avoid rip-off fees when spending their hard-earned money." The only problem being that it was not her that did this, it was the EU, that institution she is trying to take us out of:

Green MEP Molly Scott Cato told The Independent: "In spite of her rhetoric about fairness Theresa May is failing to give credit where it is due in suggesting that it is her government that is banning credit card charges.

"The truth is that it was my committee in the European Parliament that fought for and won the cap on credit card fees paid by many retailers which will mean lower charges for UK consumers. To achieve this we had to battle against national governments as well as the finance lobby. "It’s also clear that it was the power of 500 million consumers that enabled us to put pressure on the credit card companies. Brexit Britain will be much weaker and its consumers more vulnerable to financial rip-offs."

Labour MEP Clare Moody also criticised the claims, addressing Ms May on Twitter: "No, you haven’t. This is an EU initiative from which all EU citizens will enjoy, not instigated by UK Government." Liberal Democrat leader Vince Cable said: “Once again the Tories are claiming a popular policy that they had nothing to do with."

“These new rules will make things easier, cheaper and more efficient for consumers. Once again EU rules are helping people in their everyday lives. Unfortunately this doesn’t match Theresa May’s spin so instead the Tories are lying to the public.

“This is a welcome change that gives more freedom and flexibility to people in their everyday lives.”

Perhaps Theresa May would like to reconsider her determination to take us out of the European Community after all.
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