In full: Christine Jardine’s keynote speech

The first keynote speech of Comference came from Christine Jardine.

She covered the pink tax, called for an end to the benefits freeze and condemned the government for marginalised asylum seekers and not letting them work.

Here is her speech in full.

Its fantastic to be back here in York. And a bit eerie for me.

You see making a speech on this stage to all of you was the very last thing I did before my selection process in Edinburgh West.

A lot of things have changed since then… and there is a lot more we want to change.

Some of them are about the party. Some are about the country.

And then there’s Brexit. But lets not bring the mood down.

Certainly that is one of the things we are working to change.

But on a personal level Ive been focussing on three things.

Asylum seekers. DWP. And the thing Ive had most fun with:

The Pink Tax.

Taking multi-national corporations to task for thinking its ok to charge women and girls more for everything from deodorant and disposable razors to clothes and services.

Over the next few weeks Ill be lining up meetings with some of the big manufacturers and retailers to persuade them that they really

Want to act now. Fix the Pink Tax themselves.

They’ve seen what we did to the Gender Pay Gap and well if they don’t fic the Pink Tax.

Ill set Jo Swinson on them.

That’ll teach them.

I didn’t think Id be fighting the big corporations the last time I was in York.

So its all very different from the last time I was in York.

But it is wonderful to be back here in York.

I was going to make a joke about Vikings. Or maybe Rowntrees Fruit pastilles. I do love them

But isn’t it strange for us

Liberal Democrats.

To be holding our conference so close to Theresa May’s spiritual home and the area from which her Government must be drawing its guiding principles.

The Shambles…

Well actually Im being too kind to them.

Not York. York on the other hand deserves a better comparison than this Government.

It’s a fantastic city and has given us some wonderful people…

Dame Judi Dench.

Sir Vince Cable.

And Joseph Rowntree.

I know you’re thinking fruit pastilles again.

Im not.

You see like Vince and I hope most of us, Rowntree was a fierce champion of social reform.

In the late 1800s when he was building his fortune, in what was a largely Dickensian Victorian  society, he actually looked after his workforce.

They had free education, health care and pensions.

Here was a man who embodied that true British value.

A Liberal British value. Looking out for those more fortunate than yourself.

Theresa May and her Government could do with taking a leaf out of that book.

There is one particular shambles of theirs that I am now working on.

The Department of work and Pensions.

Its difficult to know where to start with them.

It’s the department which those who are most in need, need most.

It’s there to help us through the toughest of times.

And most of us will have those times when what we need is an official shoulder for comfort.

But the reality is, the Department for workisn’t working.

Take the assessments for Personal Independence Payments.

They’re not fit for purpose.

And the Benefits Freeze.

Its been described as the biggest  cause of Poverty in modern Britain.

That is an outrage.

And as for Universal Credit.

That’s a universal Failure.

And the most annoying thing is that it might have worked, it might actually have simplified things. Got people back into work.

If the Tories hadn’t dipped into the pot and syphoned off 3 Billion pounds.

Yeah in 2015 as soon as we weren’t there any more.

Looking over their shoulder, checking their work

They started fiddling about with the figures.

Oh they’ll say Phil Hammond put half of it back. Yes, half of it.

There is a chink of hope though.

Credit where its due.

Amber Rudd the latest Secretary of State at least acknowledges that Universal Credit has contributed to the distressing growth in the use of foodbanks in this country.

But she is the sixth Work and Pensions Secretary in 8 years. This lot cant even make work pay in their own departments.

None of them. None of them have gotten to grips with the problems in the system.

Late payments. Budgeting problems,compounding the stress for those already suffering. Creating rent arrears and contributing to putting more people on the streets.

You know every Monday when I arrive in parliament, or when I go home at night, I walk past people sleeping rough at the entrance to parliament.

Not so very long ago one of them died.

In the doorway of the mother of parliaments.

In the fifth largest economy in the world.

Oh I know the Tories will sayDWP gets a quarter of all spending”.

And yes that’s the scale of the challenge we face.

But as MPs, or actually just as people who give a damn, we have a duty to be careful with our language, to be sure that the story tell about poverty isn’t one that blames the victims.

That we accept responsibility for people who are homeless and don’t

Somehow make it sound like their own fault.

That we recognise that the whole point of DWP is to help people out of poverty.

To support them into work

And to provide them with security in their old age.

But conference. That is what current government policy and actions reflect.

No the 5 week waiting time for Universal Credit just reinforces the feeling among claimants that actually the state doesn’t want to help them.

What they see is a delaying tactic.

In my constituency of Edinburgh West we are only just beginning to feel the impact of Universal Credit, and we don’t like it.

Sometimes it seems like it’s just another problem for people to cope with.

And believe me there’s plenty of them already.

And there are thousands of people out there… who are looking to us to fight their corner.

People like a constituent who came to me because she had been told  that she wasn’t entitled to the motobility car she had had for year.

No she didn’t need it because if she could drive, well she could obviously walk.

So she didn’t need the motobility car. The car was specially adapted SPECIFICALLY because of a disability she was born with that affects her legs makes iit difficult to walk.

 

We fought her corner, raised her case with ministers in Parliament and eventually, thankful she was told she could keep her car.

No sorry that she could keep her lifeline.

But now they seem to think that her disability will somehow end and so they’ve put an end date on how long she can claim for.

Amazing powers they have in DWP.

Time and again we see it they can end disabilities at the stroke of a pen.

Well they cant.

But here’s a suggestion that might work.

And it may be a wee bit radical.

Instead of wasting money on an assessment system that isn’t f it for purpose.

Handing over millions to private companies to make ludicrous decisions.

Decisions that deny people the help they so obviously deserve…

And the majority of which get overturned on appeal.

Invest that money in people.

Bring the assessments in house and make sure they budget is spent where its mean to on helping people.

But perhaps the most important thing the Government could do is  

End the benefits freeze.

He single biggest single driver of poverty in this country could be the biggest single change.

Next month it goes into its final year.

Oh it would have cost money  – 1.4 billion pounds and the most annoying things is that the Government decided to spend that money on giving tax cuts to the highest earners.

How does that decision happen who decides to help those who need it least rather than the people who could benefit most.

Conference it is not now and never could be.

Morally justifiable to balance the books on the backs of the most vulnerable.

You see for me this is also personal

I have had quite a lucky life

I know people look at me and see a middle aged, middle class professional woman whose relatively comfortable.

 

But that’s where I ended up its not where I started

For my first decade and a half I lived in rented accommodation in Clydebank in the heart of shipbuilding country just as the industry was sinking.

My father didn’t work in the sector but my Mum did, part time to make ends meet and eventually paid a heavy price for it.

Her name is on a shiny, stainless steel memorial across the road from where the shipyard used to stand. A memorial to the victims of asbestos poisoning.

My sisters and I were provided for. A comfortable, happy, working class life.

 

But two things happened in those years which, much later, shaped where I stand today.

First my Dad was made redundant. Thankfully, he was able to get another job, and at the time I didn’t notice any difference.

But now I see all too clearly that there were sacrifices my parents made, the corners that were cut and I am in awe of how they coped without missing a beat and I’m in awe of those facing the same situation today.

But by then they had three girls and every time I think now about the two-child benefit cap I think of those days, what it might have meant for us.

Supposing my Dad hadn’t made ends meet, hadn’t got that job, the government would have only paid for us

You see, the Tories love to tell us that they are the defenders of the family.

But this immoral, punitive and discriminatory cap shows otherwise. It reveals their true colours.

And even if you do buy into their argument that oh well you should be able to afford a third or fourth child before you think about having one, well I say things change.

Life is uncertain, and your financial situation can be flipped upside down in a heartbeat, just like it did for us.

So what do we say to those people? Your child will have to suffer because you’ve run into some bad luck?

 

From Thatcher to May, we see it time and time and again: families are not safe under the Conservatives.

 

And the other thing that happened to my family. When my sisters were just 13 and 8 my Dad died.

By then my parents had bought their own house and moved out of Clydebank but overnight we went from that increasingly comfortable existence to being a one parent family.

And that’s where my admiration for my mother and every other parent who finds themselves in that position comes from.

Oh technically Im a single parent myself now but I have never had to cope with worrying how I would feed my girl, keep us warm and make sure I could pay for the roof above our heads.

I look at other single mothers who I aren’t as lucky as me and I know I owe it to them to make this government recognise the support they deserve for their children.

Without it how on earth will we ensure that the next generation get the chance to fulfil their potential.

We are already in the unacceptable situation where 2 thirds of the children living in poverty in this country come from a household where at least one parents is working.

That’s not just unacceptable. That’s failure.

 

A failure by Government to look after those who need its help most

A Failure by Government to give our children the best start in life

A Failure to protect the welfare state.

Now we have a responsibility as Liberals.

Those failures by this Tory Government undermine the drive towards a fairer society that this party, our party, The Liberal Party has always held as its most defining principle.

Lloyd George originally laid the foundations and Beveridge laid out the vision of the welfare state.

So today I want to make a special plea to Amber Rudd.

Assuming she’s still in the job.

In the short time she’s been there we have all noticed the step change at DWP but its not enough.

While this Secretary of State has at least acknowledged some of the problems with Universal Credit, ESA and PiP, its not enough

Amber you need to fix it.

Stop all those who are finding ways to reduce payments, making it difficult to claim or not recognising that poverty can affect those working too.

Fix it.

Stop the freeze.

Abandon the two child benefit cap.

Help families caught in that ridiculous trap: they find work, but childcare is too expensive to allow that job to actually transform their lives,

 Take these families out of poverty.

At least Amber Rudd is acknowledging that there are problems.

I wish that were true of all her colleagues.

Why won’t they acknowledge the skills and talent that asylum seekers bring to us and allow them to work?

Why instead of valuing people who have taken the enormously courageous step of fleeing persecution, leaving everything behind.

why do we rob them of the one thing they have left their dignity.

Instead of helping them to work, to contribute, to feel valued we push them to the margins living on a pittance of a fiver a day.

Conference, these are the things I got into politics to change.

And I know you did too.

If we are going to do these things we need change.

But it isn’t going to happen on its own.

And if we are going to drive it now the way Liberals did 100 years ago we need help.

We need to grow and encourage people to support our movement in the way that is best for them.

And we need to work with anyone out there who yearns for the progressive change this country needs.

If we do that, then maybe,

Just maybe, we will get that Pink Tax outlawed.

We will get the ban lifted on asylum seekers working and feeling valued.

We’ll end the benefit freeze, stop the immoral cap on benefits for children.

And introduce a better way to help people dependent on disability payments without robbing them of their dignity.

Maybe then we can then restore some humanity to a system we were once so rightly proud of.

And maybe, just maybe, this generation of Liberals can finish the job that previous ones started.

We can stop the Tories dismantling that fairer society, the welfare state those generations worked so hard to build.

Reject the politics of this rudderless, morally indefensible, shambles of a Government.

Conference, we demand Better.

We demand a Liberal Future.

O

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31 Comments

  • Not sure I like the term “Pink Tax”. In the whole, taxes can not be avoided (notwithstanding the ability of the wealthy to avoid/evade), but many of the examples given are just marketing ruses. You don’t have to buy a pink razor at twice the price of a blue one (my wife just nicks mine !). Let’s use our power as consumers to force manufacturers to play fair, rather than relying on the blunt and illiberal application of the law.

  • Lorenzo Cherin 16th Mar '19 - 2:25pm

    I really can agree with the sensible commentary from Chris Cory.
    Pink is a colour usually associated with the rights of LGBT today, hence Pink News.
    Tax is from or by government. There isn’t a tax on products based on gender.
    There is not a pink tax.

    It amazes me people call TIG iliberal when Liberal Democrats like the state involved in such aspects.

    A spokesperson responsible for universal credit, a fiasco by governments, wasting effort on these identitarian issues , when TIG are sending out petition appeals to stop the now still frozen benefits of poor citizens, is why this party is daft to not see it has a problem as a minority pursuit.

  • Lorenzo Cherin 16th Mar '19 - 2:29pm

    I add the idea of lifting the benefit freeze is of course one TIG as well as the Liberal Democrats agree on, as we in fact would on much, these are the issues we need to relate to people on, those which do require government action!

  • marcstevens 16th Mar '19 - 2:48pm

    I would totally agree with Chris Cory on the misuse of the term ‘pink tax’ which is also another example of gender stereotyping. Funnily enough I am noticing some male sanitary products eg continence products are more expensive for men than women. Will Christine campaign to close this anomaly as well?

  • David Becket 16th Mar '19 - 3:36pm

    Too many of our MPs are concentrating on minority issues and overlooking the bigger picture.

  • Arnold Kiel 16th Mar '19 - 4:14pm

    Sorry, Liberals, this “pink-tax” excitement should be left to Socialists or Marxists.

    Producers and marketers go at great length to position their products in the smallest niches to cater to all kinds of consumer preferences. It is a sign of a vibrant, consumer-centric economy, and creates enormous value: to the seller, who can reach various market segments at different price-points, and the consumer who receives a value added. The consumer surplus can indeed be also imaginary, but perception and willingness to pay are displays of consumer satisfaction nevertheless. Ample choice of products and sales formats give the consumer a lot of power in managing his/her budget.

    Most FMCGs are positioned and priced with the primary buyer in mind, more often than not women. Informed women know that e.g. mens’ razors, deodorants, or skin-care products work just as well on them if their primary selection criterion is price. Everybody knows that a Mercedes is a little better than a Vauxhall, but not twice as good. It makes people (in this case more often men) happy to pay extra for the star, so they do it nevertheless.

    State intervention in marketing and pricing of interchangeable products in a competitive marketplace has no place in a liberal manifesto.

  • This “Pink Tax” tag that Christine Jardine has latched onto is an embarrassment to the party. It’s from the realm of hard-left authoritarians

  • Andrew McCaig 16th Mar '19 - 7:19pm

    In defence of Christine Jardine, she seems to have got more actual national publicity for the Party over the last 2 weeks through her private members Bill than Vince has managed on Brexit, and without the catchy “pink tax” that would not have happened. Secondly there are more words about it in these comments than in the article, where she rightly focuses on other things.
    However my opinion is that the whole “pinkist” retail agenda that has grown to dominate shopping for children in particular over the last 20 years is an example of “enslavement by conformity” and lib dem members are therefore constitutionally encouraged to oppose it. The big retailers create these false and damaging stereotypes to make money out of people and the fact that some posters on LDV are able to smugly resist this marketing does not mean that we should acquiesce to it in favour of some libertarian (not Liberal, imo) world view. We need to get in a position where most people (and especially children) know how to resist this false marketing and the accompanying social pressure.
    However I do think the real answer is education, not legislation.

  • Paul Barker 16th Mar '19 - 7:40pm

    I can’t see how the Pink Tax campaign is any more Statist or Authoritarian than the CAB helping poor or disadvantaged people avoid the various scams promoted by con artists & by The Government itself. In fact competition only works properly if scams are outlawed. That is a never-ending legislative struggle as dishonest people continually think up new ruses.

  • Andrew McCraig

    I very much agree with you regarding the conformity element in this pink/blue thing, but conformity is very natural for a very large proportion of people (not all people are constitutionally liberal). Education will only go so far in this subject and it may have to be something people accept, that there will be price variation in products; i.e a fee for those who want to conform and fit into the identity they want to make of themselves, whether it’s the Gucci jacket, Audi car, or pink razor.

    Price fixing by the state is absolutely the last thing to start doing in this field. It’s why its suggestion by a liberal parliamentarian is so embarrassing. As you say, it’s focused the comments on this one negative thing, but the policy suggestion is so bad that I think heavy criticism of it needs to happen in order to trigger a rethink. And yes that means not seeing the good things Christine is saying

  • Lorenzo Cherin 16th Mar '19 - 7:55pm

    Arnold, Andrew,, you both say the same thing though have not got a similar view of the market, you conclude this bill, this campaign by this party spokesperson, ie Christine Jardine, is daft.

    Paul Barker does not understand, it is one thing to condemn idiocy in the market place, quirky at best , nonsense at worst to impose government dictat.

    I think all meat eaters at best daft, at worst complacent, as a vegetarian, all I want from government is standards of safety and wellbeing. The persuasion to buy a different produce is up to individuals.

    So I ask of government, the products must be safe. The price is not the business of anyone but the producer, the buyer , not the mps or the state. It is an outrage that the supposed Liberal party has nothing to say ever on a tax that is imposed as a forced charge , by legislation, and imprisons, often women , they and mainly they, every time they cannot pay it, ie the odious tv licence.

  • Paul Barker

    CAB educate and empower people to know their rights and exercise their agency and make choices.

    Charging different prices for similar products is not inherently a scam, and to conflate variable prices for differently packaged and marketed products with cold callers offering too good to be true investment packages is very disingenuous. The pink option may be less economical at face value, but so are lots of things. Easter eggs when compared to their weight to a regular bar of chocolate, M&S underwear compared to Calvin Klein underwear, Waitrose own brand chorizo and Aldi own brand chorizo. Let people make choices, including bad ones or ones we don’t understand. It’s liberalism

  • Peter Watson 16th Mar '19 - 8:13pm

    I wonder how Lib Dems would respond if Boris Johnson (or any male politician) stated that women were unnecessarily paying over the odds just to buy it in pink!
    But I don’t think Christine Jardine is planning state intervention on pricing, just a few meetings. This looks like little more than a bit of publicity-gaining virtue signalling. It would be a shame if it distracted from more important issues in her speech and the rest of the conference.

  • Peter Watson

    If Boris Johnson said it, I’d have the same feelings as Christine Jardine saying it. Politicians saying embarrassingly populist things completely out of line with the values of the party they stand for

    If Harriet Harman said it (as she has, more than a year ago, hence why this is an outdated bandwagon to jump on), I’d think it fits in exactly with her values; authoritarian, regressive/faux-progressive, anti-enterprise, anti-choice.

    And this isn’t just about meetings. In the speech, Christine explicitly talks about “outlaw[ing]” it. And yes, it has overshadowed and distracted from the rest of her speech, and rightly so. If someone attaches themselves to such a howler of a cause, it’s right the focus is on this, so that a rethink can be triggered

  • What is Christine actually calling for? Is it just a discussion or is it mandated equal point of sale price?

    Is there an evidenced analysis of the scale of this issue.

    Looking at Superdrug’s website there isn’t much evidence of deodorant (both their own brand and Sure being differently priced between male or female varieties). It’s much harder to work that out for razors as (for reasons I find had to understand) a lot of women’s razors are produced with different handle shapes. They could also be produced in lower volumes so may have higher production costs.

    Even with that said how do you compare these two and say they should be charged the same:
    https://www.superdrug.com/Toiletries/Female-Hair-Removal/Female-Razors/Venus-Divine-Razor/p/755879 (£7.99 with three blades)
    https://www.superdrug.com/Gillette/Gillette-Mach-3-Razor/p/552117 (£7.99 with one blade)

  • Or this at Boots – which has a mixture of male razors, female razors and gender neutral (Though please in the name of all that is holy never buy a single blade bic disposable.
    https://www.boots.com/search/disposable+razors

    All sorts of different styles, designs and multipack quantities

    What will this page look like under the changes Christine is proposing?

  • Brian Robinson 17th Mar '19 - 4:07pm

    I share the concerns expressed above about the aspiration to, as Christine Jardine puts it in the speech, “get that Pink Tax outlawed”. I think it would be inadvisable to try to outlaw differences in price between products aimed at women and similar products aimed at men.

    However, it may be an issue of consumer protection. For instance, if a product is marketed in such a way as to suggest, without evidence, that it is better for women, then consumers are being misled. A razor that is pink (and perhaps has a handle that is slightly more curved) is not better than an otherwise-identical “men’s” razor. Consumers should be free to pay more for it if they want, but advertisers should *not* be free to imply that it is somehow specially designed to meet women’s needs better, and therefore worth paying more for.

    The clearest example I can find is Nurofen Express Liquid Capsules vs Nurofen Express Period Pain Liquid Capsules. The difference, apart from the name? The latter has a largely pink box. And because the non-pink version is on offer it is cheaper (£3.29 vs £4.09 on the Boots website). As far as I can see, this is an *identical* product that is simply marketed differently to mislead people into thinking it is better for period pain than normal ibuprofen.

  • OnceALibDem 17th Mar '19 - 4:36pm

    One is currently on offer at Superdrug but they are the same usual listed price (maybe Superdrug are just better in this area!). Looking at the listings one is listed as containing potassium as well so they may not be identical. Which kind of highlights to problem of regulating this sort of thing.

    (Though TBH the fact that people persist in buying branded pain relief tablets when generic versions are vastly cheaper illustrates a wider problem. What is the ‘regulated’ price that Nurofen should be sold at?)

    “advertisers should *not* be free to imply that it is somehow specially designed to meet women’s needs better”

    You think advertisers should be restrained from making meaningless claims that a product has some special better quality. {looks hard at ever single mens razor advert since I started shaving – If that spares us some NEW! With 6 – SIX!!! ultraglide senitise max hyperedged blades claims then all well and good}

    All I can find is this from Christine:
    “Research shows that women pay more than men for basic products 42% of the time. Manufacturers claim that this is competition or that more is involved in producing women’s products. Scientists tell us that that is nonsense: we all have the same hair and skin types. Given what she has said about women standing up, will the Minister back my Bill on the pink tax, which is currently going through Parliament, or help to encourage manufacturers and retailers to do away with what is a sexist and outdated practice?”

    Her bill is yet to be published – but I guess that will contain the detail of what is proposed.

    A bit of googling seems to point to the 42% stat coming from a New York State study in 2015
    https://www.cbsnews.com/news/gendered-pricing-gap-new-york-city-department-of-consumer-affairs/

  • Peter Watson 17th Mar '19 - 6:39pm

    @Brian Robinson “A razor that is pink (and perhaps has a handle that is slightly more curved) is not better than an otherwise-identical “men’s” razor.”
    When I use a razor I am holding it to my face and when a woman is using a razor she … errrrr … might be holding it in a way that makes a differently shaped handle and blade particularly helpful.
    Seriously though, surely this is about consumer education, so publicising the issue is important, but talk of outlawing is overkill and a “Pink Tax” sounds patronising. The issue of VAT on women’s sanitary products seems more relevant, but I guess that touches upon EU membership.
    However, unless well-hidden by their pseudonyms, no women (apart from Christine Jardine obviously) have contributed to this thread so I feel we might all be guilty of a bit of mansplaining here!

  • Mick Taylor 17th Mar '19 - 9:19pm

    The so-called pink tax is a symbol. It is but one example of how women get exploited and have to pay more for products their male counterparts pay less for.
    It may not be important to some of the male contributors on this site.
    It is a pity Mr Raw and others didn’t listen to the whole of Christine Jardine’s speech which was very much about the iniquities of poverty and inequality, instead of nit picking about one aspect of the speech.
    Still, that’s what you get on social media. Trivialisation of issues instead of listening to the full argument.

  • Brian Robinson 17th Mar '19 - 10:30pm

    @OnceALibDem – you may be right, perhaps there is a difference between the two Nurofen products. I was just going by the Boots website, which lists ibuprofen as the sole active ingredient.

    “You think advertisers should be restrained from making meaningless claims that a product has some special better quality.”

    Not meaningless, false. Yes, I do indeed think advertisers should be restrained from making false claims that a product has some special better quality.

    In this case there is the false claim: “Targets Period Pain Fast”. The active ingredient, ibuprofen, does not target period pain any more than it targets, say, toothache; consumers are being misled, and possibly paying more as a result compared to a product that is not branded as being for period pain, and for me that is where government should have a role (not, to be clear, in micromanaging such things, but in setting tighter regulation).

    The notion of a “Pink Tax” and in particular the suggestion that it might be outlawed has certainly sparked a lot of debate on here, which I think is a good thing, and I don’t agree with David Raw that it is “obsessing about a minor marketing matter which wise consumers can negotiate round”. It goes to the core of Liberal Democrat values – fairness – and to the perennial problem of how we try to promote fairness without simply banning everything we disapprove of.

  • The nurofen example is a little misleading in that according to mysupermarket.co.uk it is an offer price and Boots’ normal price is the same – now OK they have chosen to reduce the price of the non-target product (BTW the same product). As it happens due to the temporary price reduction you can also buy 2 packs of 16 for £6.58 or 1 pack of 30 for £6.99!

    Mysupermarket says you can pay between 12p and 40p at boots for 200mg nurofen at boots – now admittedly some of these are different products in that they are different pack sizes or are either liquid capsules or tablets and some may have extra ingredients such as caffeine – but it is cheaper to take it with a cup of coffee.

    The trick of course is not to go to Boots and not to by nurofen but generic ibuprofen – 24p for 16 (1.5p per tablet) at poundstretcher!

    I guess this is marketing and there is always in part a war between the consumer who (should) want to get the lowest price against the producer who wants to get the most money out of us. Now I and I am sure all of us have been at times “suckered” into spending more than we should.

    But I feel the solution is for us all to be more savvy consumers and there is now much more information for consumers with the internet and sites such as mysupermarket
    As it happens the advertising standards association did uphold a complaint about nurofen on targeting back pain. https://www.asa.org.uk/rulings/rb-uk-commercial-ltd-a16-338459.html but it is a classic marketing gimmick to say “No product is better than X at doing Y” whereas of course it may be the same as other products or indeed aim products at niches.

    I have yet to see much research that the “pink tax” is a major problem in the UK – other may be for perfume which may be different products anyway.

    Personally I would allow women to be charged less for car insurance (gender discrimination for services has been outlawed) – I don’t see why they should be penalised (um… “taxed”?) for the bad driving of men!

  • Mick Taylor 18th Mar '19 - 8:50am

    I’m not lecturing anybody. I’m politely suggesting to Mr Raw and others that they pull their heads out of wherever they are and stop pretending that apologising for anything will make a difference. Also to stop calling out the party for not speaking out on important issues like poverty and inequality when they are.
    Brexit is the defining issue of our times. If it does go through then the queue at Mr Raw’s food bank will grow longer and more desperate, as will the one in my own town in Yorkshire. Defeating Brexit will not immediately tackle the problems of poverty and inequality. Not doing so will make them worse.
    Christine Jardine made some of these points in her speech and Vince Cable talked explicitly in his speech of tackling the causes of the Brexit vote, including poverty and inequality.
    Stop running the party down and get behind us. We can tackle the very real problems of our country, but only if w e work together.

  • Arnold Kiel 16th Mar ’19 – 4:14pm……………Sorry, Liberals, this “pink-tax” excitement should be left to Socialists or Marxists………..

    It’s a long time since I read any Marx/Engels but I don’t remember anything about ‘Pink’ and even the lefty Corbyn hasn’t jumped on that bandwagon which seem to epitomise this party’s ability to focus on triviality.

    BTW… Christine Jardine’s…. “A Liberal British value. Looking out for those more fortunate than yourself”…. seems more akin to the values in a party already led by a woman.

  • Peter Watson 18th Mar '19 - 10:51am

    @David Raw “My comment was directed at the response on LDV to Ms Jardine’s speech where 17 of the first 18 comments were about the so called ‘pink tax’”
    The “Pink Tax” is the first thing mentioned in the article’s introduction and the first thing discussed by Ms. Jardine in her speech, where she describes it as one of the three things she has been focusing on and the one she’s had the most fun with. It also seems to be the one where she has a definite plan of action, having already introduced a bill to Parliament.
    I entirely agree with you about “Lib Dems obsessing about a minor marketing matter”, but I also think that it is Ms. Jardine’s fault for putting it front and centre instead of those other very serious issues you describe.

  • Lorenzo Cherin 18th Mar '19 - 1:32pm

    David Raw

    Yes it is good you raise such issues, but I did before you here and rather than say well done, I agree with our friend Lorenzo, you say the first comments only talked about pink tax related comments, when mine explicitly referred to universal credit and those issues as more pressing.

    Credit, though not needing to be universal, where it is due, eh , David!

  • @OnceALibDem

    There is evidence of price differentials between equivalent male and female products https://www.google.com/amp/s/amp.theguardian.com/fashion/2016/jan/19/the-sexist-surcharge-how-women-get-ripped-off-on-the-high-street (very partisan and unobjective article, but cites research of some sort).

    As has been alluded to, there could be many reasons for different prices, including lower volumes sold of the female version (thus higher per unit production costs), higher marketing budget spend for female customers, or greater demand inelasticity from male consumers compared to female consumers. Indeed there may be higher demand for inefficiently packaged female products compared to their male equivalent (am thinking the tiny deodorant sprays that some women like to keep in a handbag).

    The way this subject is peddled as some sort of mysogynistic conspiracy looks very much like identity politics grievance mongering

    As a student, I remember well female housemates scraping by on a budget seeking out the more economical choices when doing the essentials shopping, whilst the pampered female housemates (the sort of ones whose parents had bought them a car) being frivolous by shopping in Boots and buying the overpriced pink razors for example. This observation continues to this day in my daily life in Peckham. As I do my shopping in Savers (a discount toiletries store), I see mostly black female shoppers picking out the best options, with no pink razors or mini-deodorant sprays in sight. Pop over to Tesco or Superdrug and one sees the arty hipster caucasian females filling baskets with overpriced and over branded toiletries. Consumers feeling the pinch are switching to economic options themselves, it’s seems it’s just the monied middle class who continue to not exercise their consumer power by making better consumer choices. I don’t think nannying this section of society is a good idea.

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