By: Andrea Coscelli (CMA Blog)
The emergence of the Omicron strain has added to the uncertainty being felt by consumers and businesses about the impact of coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. In the run-up to Christmas, we remain vigilant in protecting people across the UK from unfair behaviour and working to ensure their rights are protected.
As we look to the future, and as the UK emerges from the worst of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, promoting competition will be more important than ever before. Competitive markets are essential to creating the conditions for investment and sustainable long-term growth in the UK. They drive innovation, increasing our productivity, meaning we can produce more with less. When markets aren’t competitive, prices go up, quality drops and the cost of living rises, hitting the less well-off households the hardest.
The CMA has an important role to play in building trust and confidence when people buy goods and services, and in fostering competition. We will continue to focus on high impact enforcement of competition and consumer law. We will remain alert to the risk of anti-competitive collusion, to mergers seeking to reduce competition and capitalise on the financial distress of businesses, and to attempts to exploit consumers, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and microbusinesses.
During the past year, the CMA has risen to the significant challenges arising from the need to assume substantial additional responsibilities as a result of the UK’s departure from the European Union (EU), while responding quickly and effectively to protect consumers and assist businesses by tackling issues arising from the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. We have launched the shadow Digital Markets Unit (DMU), set up and launched the Office for the Internal Market (OIM), and recommenced our work on the UK’s future subsidy control regime by preparing for the creation of the Subsidy Advice Unit (SAU), each of which brings a new set of powers, functions and responsibilities. We have also published the first Annual State of Competition report. At the same time, the volume of complex, multinational merger and antitrust cases, often with a digital focus, continues to grow…