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This publication is available at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/cmas-role-after-brexit/cmas-role-after-brexit
Leaving the European Union (EU) is likely to result in a bigger role for the CMA in safeguarding competition on behalf of UK consumers. We expect to investigate larger and more complex merger cases as well as carry out a greater number of complex antitrust cases, often in parallel with other jurisdictions including the EU. The government has also set out its intention that we should be responsible for monitoring and enforcing state aid rules for the whole of the UK.
To do this new work and ensure UK consumers continue to be protected, we will build on our existing legislative framework and skills and are in close contact with government on secondary legislation to underpin the transition. We are increasing our headcount and are actively planning for how we will manage these additional responsibilities, while ensuring that we continue to balance our portfolio of work and deliver for UK consumers. We are currently working with government and engaging with key stakeholders to listen to their views. The government is confident about achieving a deal with the EU. Once the UK agrees a deal with the EU we intend to consult on our proposed approach to mergers and antitrust activities during the implementation period. Our consultations will elaborate on our approach to the competition regime after leaving the EU and will offer stakeholders further opportunity to comment.
The ‘no deal’ scenario
We are preparing for all scenarios, including a ‘no deal’ before March 2019. As preparation for this eventuality, the government has developed a ‘no deal’ competition Statutory Instrument (SI) and laid it before Parliament on 29 October 2018. The Competition SI is accompanied by an explanatory memorandum. To assist businesses in their forward planning for a no deal scenario, we have published information on how we intend to proceed for mergers and antitrust cases currently involving the European Commission (EC) that would have fallen to it had the UK not exited the EU. We will review and update our website as required.
We also expect the government to pass secondary legislation which will transpose the EU state aid rules into UK law and provide for the CMA to take on its new state aid role, following which we will publish further details on how we will operate the function.