Competition & Markets Authority
CMA holds major consumer event in Edinburgh
The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) is holding a major conference in Edinburgh exploring the challenges faced by consumers and how best to tackle them.
The conference is the first of its kind to be hosted by the CMA’s Edinburgh office and will enable the organisation to better identify and resolve consumer protection issues affecting people in Scotland. It’s also the first time Andrew Tyrie will be speaking in Scotland as Chairman of the CMA. He will use his speech to highlight the benefits of the CMA’s decision to significantly expand its Edinburgh office. The CMA will soon have space to accommodate 100 people – around 10% of its workforce. This will enable it to operate on major competition and consumer cases on behalf of the UK from Edinburgh. He will also set out some of the ways in which the CMA’s work is already benefiting Scotland.
Scottish Government Minister for Business, Fair Work and Skills, Jamie Hepburn, will also be speaking about ensuring the consumer voice in Scotland is heard.
The event follows major fuel company Certas confirming in discussions with the CMA and publicly this year that it will not enter into potentially exclusive contracts with petrol stations - a voluntary continuation of a guarantee it had previously made to the CMA. This means that drivers on the Western Isles will continue to benefit from the CMA’s action to foster greater competition, helping to keep fuel prices competitive and ensuring people understand the price they are going to pay.
Topics being discussed at the event in Scotland today include how regulators can best protect vulnerable consumers; the growth and power of digital platforms; and the opportunities presented by Open Banking.
CMA Chairman Andrew Tyrie, said:
With our decision to expand greatly our office in Edinburgh, we have gone, in 18 months, from a team of 3 to a team of 50 people. And we are taking space to accommodate 100 people. This means that a great deal of CMA work that matters most to Scotland will now be done from Edinburgh. But we have decided to go much further. We want Edinburgh to look after more of the UK’s interests. And we are already running UK-wide cases from Scotland.
Notes to Editors:
- The CMA board met in Edinburgh on 25 September. Minutes will be published on the CMA website.
- The CMA is continuing to increase its body of work in Scotland to ensure that consumers are protected. In June this year, for example, it launched research into Scottish legal services to determine whether there is a lack of competition among legal service providers in Scotland and what this could mean for customers.
- Beyond these specific Scottish projects, people across the UK are benefiting from the CMA’s work. In August this year, for example, the CMA secured £8 million for the NHS, which included a £800K share for the NHS in Scotland, as part of its investigation into drug firm Aspen for suspected anti-competitive arrangements. It also blocked the merger of Sainsbury’s and Asda after finding the deal would lead to higher prices, less choice, and poorer quality for shoppers.
- The CMA is the UK’s primary competition and consumer authority. It is an independent non-ministerial department of the UK government with responsibility for carrying out investigations into mergers, markets and the regulated industries, and enforcing competition and consumer law.
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