Fri 01 Jun 2018

Five things you might not know about the Competition and Markets Authority

Competition and Markets Authority (CMA)

  1. The CMA came into existence on 1 April 2014 under the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act 2013. The CMA replaced the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) and the Competition Commission (CC). Many of the functions of the OFT and the CC transferred to the CMA. The CMA is an independent non-ministerial department of the UK Government.
  2. The statutory duty of the CMA is to promote competition, both within and outside the UK, for the benefit of consumers. It's mission is to make markets work well in the interests of consumers, businesses and the economy. This results in the CMA looking at a broad range of issues, including hotel booking sites, care homes for the elderly, car rental, online gambling, digital comparison tools for home insurance and mergers such as 21st Century Fox Inc's purchase of Sky Plc.
  3. The CMA is building a new digital, data and tech team. It recognises that there are number of competition and consumer law conundrums posed by changes to online and digital transactions. The CMA is keen to see innovation improve markets: however it is wary of digital tools which could enable collusion and result in anti-competitive behaviour.
  4. The CMA will be opening a new, expanded office in Edinburgh. The CMA's Annual Plan for 2018/19 sets out its intention to increase its presence and capabilities in Scotland. One of its key commitments is to have between 25-30 staff in Edinburgh. Whilst the annual plan was announced on 29 March 2018, the Scottish office is not a surprise. The CMA's Scottish Expansion project was referred to in the draft annual plan issued for consultation on 4 December 2017 and at a board meeting held in Edinburgh on 31 January 2018.
  5. The CMA wants to strengthen relationships in Scotland. Through its increased presence, the CMA aims to strengthen relationships with local organisations including business and consumer groups. It is also looking to strengthen relationships with the Scottish Government and the Scottish Parliament.

Whilst you may not be familiar with Competition Law, competition touches every part of daily life from buying milk to travelling on a train. The CMA's twitter feed, @CMAgovUK gives an insight into the broad range of work it does. The location of the CMA's expanded Edinburgh office is yet to be announced.

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