When you pay for something with a debit or credit card, you will no longer face any extra charges. The Conservatives have claimed that they devised this ban. The reality is they didn’t.
Taking undeserved credit
The EU is responsible for the new measure, which will help millions avoid being charged for paying by card. The European Commission tweeted:
As of today, new EU rules on payment services apply. They will:
📌prohibit additional charges for payments with credit or debit cards, both in shops or online
📌introduce strict security requirements for e-payments
📌enhance consumers' rights
More info → https://t.co/o8RDNUGE77 pic.twitter.com/NWyRmEzPlc
— European Commission 🇪🇺 (@EU_Commission) January 13, 2018
But both Theresa May and Ross Thomson, Conservative MP for Aberdeen South, tried to take credit for the move:
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. pic.twitter.com/EEk5jxdk7R
— Theresa May (@theresa_may) January 13, 2018
Great news that as of today @Conservatives have banned hidden charges for simply paying with your credit or debit card. This will help millions of people avoid rip-off fees when spending their hard-earned money. pic.twitter.com/cJM9kfJahG
— Ross Thomson MP (@RossThomson_MP) January 13, 2018
People were quick to react to the dishonesty. Reporter Grant White replied to May:
No, Theresa, this is a beneficial EU directive. One of an increasing number you pretend you and the British tabloids came up with.
— Grant White (@GrantWhiteTZ) January 13, 2018
This isn’t the first time…
The Conservative Party has previously tried to take credit for other beneficial EU measures. Just recently, May announced that all small shops in England would be required to charge 5p for plastic bags. Environment Secretary Michael Gove said he was intent on tackling “the throwaway culture that plastics encapsulate”. Yet as EUobserver reports:
But while the news is framed as the Conservative government showing its greener side, other motives are at play as well.
What has gone mostly unreported in the UK is that the plastic bag charge is needed to fulfil a requirement in an EU directive.
In 2015, the EU brought in a measure which meant member states had two options: stop shops from giving away free plastic bags, or take other steps to reduce their use. It didn’t make any comment about the size of the shop. And the UK introduced legislation [pdf] requiring that only large shops charge 5p for bags. But as EUobserver points out, the bill “does not even mention the EU or the directive”.
The government may paint these measures to save us money and protect the environment as its own, but they’re not. In fact, there is ample evidence that the Conservatives care little about either. They have cheered pay cuts to public sector workers and failed to tackle illegal levels of air pollution in the country.
This dishonest and seemingly desperate attempt to gain popularity isn’t going to work. And it’s precisely these sorts of tactics that cause people’s trust in the government to crumble away.
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Featured image via David Mirzoeff
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