The annual report, which has been laid before Parliament, looks back on the work undertaken during the year and the progress made by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) during its second year since taking over the functions of the Competition Commission and the competition and certain consumer functions of the Office of Fair Trading in 2014.
The impact assessment shows that the CMA has delivered direct benefits to consumers of £10.60 for every £1 of taxpayer money received, exceeding the 10:1 target for the second year in succession.
The annual report reveals that the CMA is starting to see the benefits of becoming a single organisation. Merger control has been streamlined, which has enabled the CMA to operate with increased pace – the average time taken for phase 1 investigations has been cut to 34 working days, from 36 in 2014/15 – and to better target its interventions, which minimises the burdens on business whilst protecting consumers.
Working for consumers remains the CMA’s focus, and the organisation has now concluded its market investigation into the energy market and is nearing the conclusion of its market investigation into retail banking. The CMA also launched a market study into legal services and published its interim report in July, and concluded consumer enforcement projects in sectors including groceries and online reviews.
This determination to protect consumers, while also benefiting businesses and the wider economy, has led to an increase in the enforcement of consumer and competition law with 13 new cases opened during the year and £46 million imposed in fines.
The CMA has continued to help to promote competition to boost UK productivity, through deregulation, the removal of more than 50 outdated merger remedies and by influencing local, national and international policy development. The organisation has strengthened its work with partners in the UK and particularly abroad, where it has just completed a successful year as President of the International Consumer Protection and Enforcement Network.
Andrea Coscelli, CMA Acting Chief Executive, said:
The CMA is very proud of its achievements this year. The organisation has delivered real benefits to consumers and businesses, streamlined its operations and forged stronger partnerships in the UK and overseas.
We intend to build on this successful beginning and to maintain the pace of improvement, to continue to provide a valuable service to consumers and benefit the UK economy.
We are starting to see good results and we are focused on finishing what we started, both in terms of developing our organisation and seeing through ongoing cases. The scale, pace and impact of our activity are increasing, and we will continue to strive to do more, better. While we do not underestimate the challenge, we are confident that we can continue the pace of improvement to secure the full benefits of being a single, integrated competition body, making markets work well for consumers, businesses and the UK economy.
Notes for editors
- The CMA is the UK’s primary competition and consumer authority. It is an independent non-ministerial government department with responsibility for carrying out investigations into mergers, markets and the regulated industries and enforcing competition and consumer law. For more information see the CMA’s homepage on GOV.UK.
- For CMA updates, follow us on Twitter @CMAgovuk, Flickr and LinkedIn.
- Enquiries should be directed to Simon Belgard (firstname.lastname@example.org, 020 3738 6472).