Consultation outcome

A new pro-competition regime for digital markets

This consultation has concluded

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A new pro-competition regime for digital markets - government response to consultation

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Detail of outcome

In July 2021, we published the consultation: A new pro-competition regime for digital markets. The consultation sought views on the proposed design of a new pro-competition regime for digital markets which will actively boost competition and innovation by tackling the harmful effects and sources of substantial and entrenched market power. It will protect smaller businesses, consumers and competition by governing the relationship between users and key digital firms.

During this time, 105 written submissions were received to from a range of respondents, including both large and small technology firms, non-technology sector businesses, trade associations, academics, and campaign groups. A full list of respondents is included in Annex A.

Alongside written submissions, we ran a wide-ranging programme of stakeholder engagement, including roundtables and technical discussions on our detailed proposals. We have carefully analysed all the responses and evidence submitted. We are grateful for the time and effort our stakeholders committed during this process, which has informed and strengthened our final policy positions.

The vast majority of respondents supported the proposals for the regime. Many provided evidence of the need for urgent action to ensure we have the regulatory tools needed to address the challenges arising from weak competition in digital markets. Respondents strongly supported our overarching approach to the regime, emphasising the need to equip the Digital Markets Unit with the ability to rapidly and flexibly respond to the fast moving issues in digital markets. However, there was also a general recognition that aspects of the regime will be new and untested and respondents suggested further clarity might be needed after the regime has been set up – for example through guidance and transparency.

The government will bring forward legislation to implement these reforms when parliamentary time allows.

Original consultation

Summary

In this consultation, the government sets out its proposals for a new pro-competition regime for digital markets.

This consultation ran from
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Consultation description

Digital technologies are positively transforming the way we work, access information and stay in touch with loved ones. A thriving digital economy is at the heart of the government’s vision for long-term economic growth.

In this consultation, the government sets out its proposals for a new pro-competition regime for digital markets. Through these reforms the government will drive greater dynamism in our tech sector, empower consumers and drive growth across the economy. This digital competition consultation is the latest step towards the establishment of a new regulatory regime for digital markets. The government’s proposed approach builds on recommendations by the Digital Competition Expert Panel, chaired by Professor Jason Furman and is informed by advice from the Digital Markets Taskforce.

In the consultation, we are seeking feedback on the government’s proposals for the regime including:

  • the criteria and mechanisms that will identify which firms fall within scope of the regime
  • the objectives for the Digital Markets Unit and how it will work with other regulators
  • our approach to a new code of conduct to promote open choices, fair trading and trust and transparency
  • our approach to ‘pro-competition interventions’ that will address the root causes of market power
  • the powers that the Digital Markets Unit will need to ensure the regime is effective
  • the changes being considered for a distinct merger regime for firms within scope of the regime

Accompanying the consultation is the associated Impact Assessment of the government’s proposals. The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy has also published two research reports related to this consultation.

The government is also launching a wider consultation on other reforms to the competition and consumer protection system, to ensure that the framework supports growth and productivity for both businesses and consumers. You may also be interested in responding to this.

Who we are seeking to consult with:

We are seeking views on these proposals from the widest possible audience to ensure that a wide range of views are gathered. We are particularly interested in views from:

  • start-ups, charities and small businesses; especially those that rely on firms with potential ‘strategic market status’
  • large and small technology companies, advertisers, publishers and representative organisations
  • investors in technology companies
  • civil society organisations focused on consumer rights, digital rights, privacy and data protection, and vulnerable people
  • academics, and research and policy organisations with a particular interest in the role of digital competition in the economy and society
  • organisations with an international competition or economic regulation focus
  • law firms and providers of other professional business services

We encourage respondents to consider the questions posed throughout this document and to provide facts and reasoning to inform the development of our proposals. We are also seeking evidence on the expected costs and benefits of the proposals set out in this consultation; specific questions have been included in the Impact Assessment.

This consultation is on a UK-wide basis. However, we welcome responses from organisations and individuals across the UK and internationally.

How to respond

The easiest way to respond to the consultation and Impact Assessment is to use our online surveys below:

If you have any difficulty submitting your response to the consultation through the survey, please email: digital-competition-consultation@dcms.gov.uk.

If you have any difficulty submitting your response to the impact assessment through the survey platform, please email: digital-competition-IA@dcms.gov.uk.

Documents

Consultation document

Consultation document (large font)

Impact assessment

Published 20 July 2021
Last updated 6 May 2022 + show all updates
  1. Added government response to consultation.

  2. Added HTML consultation document.

  3. First published.