Consultation outcome

Reforming competition and consumer policy

This consultation has concluded

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Reforming competition and consumer policy: government response

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Reforming competition and consumer policy: government response (accessible PDF)

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Reforming competition and consumer policy: government response (print-ready PDF)

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Detail of outcome

The government response to this consultation outlines policies under 3 themes:

  • competition reforms to create a best-in-class competition law system fit for the digital age, through strengthening enforcement against illegal anticompetitive conduct and creating a more active pro-competitive strategy for the CMA
  • consumer rights reforms to allow the law to keep pace with the speed of digital innovation, keeping consumers safe from fake reviews, and to give consumers more control over their spending through tackling subscription traps and prepayment savings clubs
  • consumer enforcement reforms to ensure the CMA has the right tools at its disposal to tackle the biggest consumer problems across all markets, while reforms to arbitration and mediation will help consumers and traders fix their problems more effectively on their own

Alongside the government response to this consultation we have also published:

Feedback received

Consultation responses: A-D

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Consultation responses: E-O

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Consultation responses: P-W

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Detail of feedback received

We received 188 responses, mainly from the following sectors:

  • business
  • regulators
  • legal
  • consumer organisations
  • trading standards and local authorities
  • academics
  • individuals

Original consultation

Summary

Proposed reforms to competition and consumer policy for strong free markets, vigorous competition and high consumer standards that drive growth and productivity.

This consultation ran from
to

Consultation description

Competition and consumer policies are key to creating free, open, and competitive markets with high consumer standards that drive growth, innovation, and productivity. A robust regulatory framework which supports healthy competition is crucial to the effective functioning of the economy and supporting both businesses and consumers.

We start from a strong foundation, with well-regarded competition policy, a strong set of consumer rights, multiple routes for consumers to receive advice and enforce their rights, and regulators with powers to step in and enforce the law on consumers’ behalf. But we can do more, and now is the right time to talk about reforms as we build back better from the pandemic. There is evidence that some markets are lacking proper competition, and consumers’ rights in some areas need protecting. This consultation sets out proposals to achieve this, and to deliver the manifesto commitment to give the Competition & Markets Authority (CMA) enhanced powers to tackle consumer rip-offs and bad business practices.

The consultation covers proposals under 3 themes on which we’re seeking views:

  • promoting competition to drive enterprise, innovation, growth, and productivity
  • updating consumer rights to keep pace with markets
  • strengthening the enforcement of consumer law by individuals and regulators

We’d like views from:

  • consumers and businesses
  • those with knowledge and expertise in competition and consumer law and policy and its application

We’re also launching a consultation on a new pro-competition regime for digital markets.

Alongside these consultations, the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy has written to the CMA to request its advice on how the UK can better use the tools available under competition and consumer law to achieve the government’s net zero and sustainability goals. The advice is due by early 2022.

Documents

Reforming competition and consumer policy (web accessible version)

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Reforming competition and consumer policy (consultation document - print-ready)

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Reforming competition and consumer policy (consultation document - large print)

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Published 20 July 2021
Last updated 20 April 2022 + show all updates
  1. Government response published.

  2. First published.