Approaching its fourth year of operation following reform of the competition regime, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) believes that the strategic track it is following remains broadly right, and proposes to build on its progress to date.
Competitive markets deliver better choice, innovation and prices for customers, and ensuring that people get a fair deal when buying goods and services remains central to the CMA’s work. The CMA plans to continue to seek out areas of the economy where business practices, or the wider functioning of the market, mean this may not be the case, intervening as necessary to fix them and to ensure that consumers are protected.
The CMA is implementing important decisions in 2 of the biggest market investigations ever undertaken by a UK competition authority, into energy and retail banking. Meanwhile, it is pushing ahead with market studies into sectors that have long been central to many people’s lives (legal services and care homes), alongside growing and evolving areas of the economy (digital comparison tools). As markets evolve rapidly, the CMA proposes to continue to prioritise interventions that have the greatest impact on helping markets to work well for consumers – including the most vulnerable – and where it can support innovation and growth.
In 2017/18, the CMA proposes to further step up the pace, scales and impact of its enforcement against anti-competitive or unfair practices and to increase its targets for opening new enforcement cases by 50%. At the same time, it will not compromise hard-won improvements to rigour and fairness.
There are proven links between strong competition and increased productivity. By helping to create the conditions which allow innovative businesses that treat their customers well to emerge and succeed, in 2017/18 the CMA can continue to make a valuable contribution to sustained economic growth.
The CMA remains committed to finding new ways to improve and will ensure that it uses its resources – physical, financial and intellectual – as efficiently as possible.
David Currie, CMA Chairman, said:
We have set out for consultation another challenging programme for next year. After a thorough review, we believe that we’re on the right strategic track. Our core role remains to ensure that people benefit from competitive markets and fair business practices.
We propose to further step up our enforcement to ensure that consumers are protected from unfair or illegal practices, to use our powers to support the UK’s economic growth, and to improve our efficiency and effectiveness.
We’ve carried out a wide range of work that makes a positive difference for consumers, businesses and the economy. Our achievements to date are part of a sustained journey of increasing impact, pace and scale across all our work, and our draft priorities show that this is a journey we are committed to continuing in the coming year. We look forward to receiving views on our proposed 2017/18 plan.