Poll: Is buying British a middle class pursuit?

Class SketchThis is a question we get asked a lot and it is a difficult one for us to ignore. I think that there is no hiding the fact that we present an image of a typical middle class family. However, if asked would I brand myself with such a badge? What does being middle class mean? And is there really any excuse for not buying British that comes down to class?

I personally grew up the only child in a single parent family, in a council house in a rather dubious part of Nottingham. I am now University educated (twice) and have a job that pays reasonably well. However, I still, if pushed, consider myself working class. Emily is perhaps more distinctly middle class having grown up in the leafy suburbia of Kent in a model 2.4 children type family.

The argument we hear is that working classes simply cannot afford to buy British. Is this really the case and does any of it even matter when we think about British families supporting our own domestic manufacturing and farming? It is true that some sectors of British manufacturing can be significantly more pricy than their imported alternatives, but we continue to find bargains among all sectors of British production that are not exclusively priced. Adversely, we have actually saved money with quite a lot of money on our usual purchases by buying British.

So the original questions still stands – is buying British a distinctly middle class extravagance that prices out the rest of Britain or is buying more British goods open to all? Have your say:

Is buying British a middle class pursuit?

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– James



  1. I am definately going to try to buy british clothes from now on although with 5 children to clothe it will not be easy I am sure. I recently started an artisan hamper business where all my produce including the hampers themselves are made in the UK by British suppliers http://www.facebook.com/Ilovehampers. Keep up the good work guys and keep spreading the good news of British manufacturing!

  2. claire says

    I dont think its just the price that factors into buying british. I personally(and Iam on a tight budget!) would prefer to buy british, supporting our communities,providing jobs and better quaility products, but the thing I find hardest of most is trying to find out where products are actually made, as labelling can be very misleading! This is where I wish the government would allow a logo to represent all british made products

  3. I don’t think that this question can be answered in a simple yes/no question. I think the family that is struggling to make ends meet, has not the time, energy and sometimes the inclination to look around for British goods. If British and non British goods were side by side on the shelf , the cheaper would win.

    • Gordon Smith says

      I would rather pay more for a quality British product because it lasts longer so in the long term it isn’t more expensive and you are supporting British factories and workers who pay tax to the British government. An alternative could be your taxed paying unemployment benefit and the government losing tax revenue.

  4. I certainly don’t believe it’s expensive (at least in some areas) to buy British, having recently ventured into our local Aldi they are currently really pushing some British foods, generally meats, and at a very reasonable price.
    The British wine selection in there however is somewhat… limited, one brand (1 white, 1 red) BUT, that said, it’s a step in the right direction.
    It would be nice to think that when I do my shop at a local supermarket, generally speaking, my produce is sourced somewhat locally.

  5. It would be great if we could all buy British but I think we need to be realistic. The less well off have to buy the cheaper option and that is manufactured in the Far East.

    Britain’s future as a manufacturer is to produce quality, which comes at a price. Switzerland is a prime example of a country which has few raw materials so produces small, high quality items such as watches and optical equipment. They’ve been remarkably successful and so can we.

  6. I answered Don’t Know, not because I really don’t know, but because it’s not actually that simple. It’s quite clear that there is certainly an image thing that buying British is more exclusive and middle class, and the shops play on this to bump up the price of their local products and gain more profit for themselves.

    Those savvy enough to shop around probably do get a better deal, but at the expense of convenience, and people are often willing to pay quite a lot for convenience (much more, really, than paying for local produce), in which case, comparing a shopped-around price with a convenient supermarket buy is not really a fair comparison.

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