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CMA chair uses IPPR paper to discuss role of competition policy in ensuring sustainable post-Covid recovery

Lord Tyrie argues for measures to secure a more competitive economy and better consumer protection in wake of crisis 

IPPR has published a discussion paper by Andrew Tyrie, chair of the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority, in which he makes the case for competition policy to play a key role as the economy emerges from the coronavirus lockdown. 

In the paper, available from the progressive policy think tank’s website (see Notes below), Lord Tyrie reviews the steps already taken by the CMA to protect consumers from threats to competitive outcomes, including concerns over price gouging and firms not honouring the right to a refund on cancellation of their services. 

He goes on to describe how competition policy could play an important part in ensuring a sustainable long-term recovery. 

His paper is among a number published by IPPR, the progressive policy think tank, examining the impact of the Covid-19 crisis, the emergency measures taken to safeguard the economy, and how to ensure the economy recovers in a way that is fair, clean and sustainable. 

Carys Roberts, Executive Director of IPPR, said: 

“In this paper, Lord Tyrie makes the case that coronavirus is likely to make the UK economy less competitive, with markets becoming more concentrated. We agree with that assessment, and we fear this could take the UK to a tipping point where rates of investment and innovation begin to fall as a result. 

"Many of the issues Lord Tyrie raises were core to the work of the IPPR Commission on Economic Justice, which reported in 2018. The Commission identified rising concentration in a number of sectors across developed economies, and in particular in the digital and data economy.  

“The Commission called for reform of the UK’s competition regime, with a stronger focus on open markets that better promote investment, innovation and entrepreneurship. This should be a priority for the recovery from Covid-19." 

Carys Roberts is available for interview 



The IPPR discussion paper, How Should Competition Policy React to Coronavirus, by Lord Tyrie, is available for download at: 

Lord (Andrew) Tyrie was appointed chair of the Competition and Markets Authority in 2018 and announced last month that he will step down in September.  

Other recent IPPR papers on the post-Covid economy include: 

  • Guaranteeing the Right Start: Preventing youth unemployment after Covid-19 – available on IPPR website here
  • Transforming the Economy after Covid-19: A clean, fair and resilient recovery – available here
  • Who wins and who pays? Rentier power and the Covid crisis - available here
  • Beyond bailouts (discussion paper) - available here 
  • Inside the Black Box: The public finances after coronavirus (discussion paper) – available here 

The final report of IPPR’s Commission on Economic Justice, Prosperity and Justice: A plan for the new economy, is available here. Among its wide-ranging proposals, the Commission called for the remit of the Competition and Markets Authority to be broadened to include a focus on market power that damages the public interest, alongside existing commitments to promote consumer welfare and economic efficiency. 

IPPR, the Institute for Public Policy Research, is the UK’s pre-eminent progressive think tank. With more than 40 staff in offices in London, Manchester, Newcastle and Edinburgh, IPPR is Britain’s only national think tank with a truly national presence. 

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