UK Competition Watchdog To Have Enhanced Role

Britain’s competition regulator should have an enhanced role, becoming a new consumer champion, according to a government-commissioned report published on Tuesday, February 16.

The report, penned by John Penrose, a lawmaker of the ruling Conservative Party, stated that currently there is no strong, independent institution responsible for the overall progress of competition, consumer rights, supply-side reforms, and productivity improvements.

“Given their importance for post-Brexit Britain’s economic growth and jobs, it’s an important gap in our current regime,” he said.

Penrose said the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) should fulfill this role, “becoming a micro-economic sibling for the Bank of England’s well-established public macro-economic role.”

He said the CMA should publish an annual “State of Competition and Consumer Detriment” report which measures progress and problems in both these areas across all sectors of the economy, and all parts of the country.

The report also calls for the CMA’s civil consumer enforcement powers to be updated to bring them into line with its competition toolkit.

Penrose was invited by the government last September to conduct an independent review of UK competition policy, to see how it could be reformed for the digital age post-Brexit and COVID-19.

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