Competition & Markets Authority
CMA publishes Annual Report 2020/21
The CMA has published its Annual Report 2020/21, showing its work over the year which includes saving consumers at least £2 billion.
The Annual Report details the work the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has carried out in the past year in its role as the UK’s competition and consumer authority.
The year has brought significant change for the CMA. This included reorienting its activity in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and addressing new problems that arose for consumers and businesses. The CMA also assumed significant extra responsibilities on mergers and antitrust as a result of the UK’s departure from the European Union (EU).
In total, the CMA estimates its work resulted in annual average consumer savings of at least £2 billion in 2020/21, and over £7 billion of savings to consumers in total between 2018/19 and 2020/21. This means that for every £1 the CMA spent on its operating costs, the average benefit to consumers over the past three years was £25.
Between April 2020 and March 2021 the CMA:
- Reviewed 600 mergers and acquisitions, including 38 phase 1 merger reviews and 9 phase 2 investigations, across sectors such as building and construction, pharmaceuticals, hospitals, and digital and financial services.
- Issued 8 Competition Act infringement decisions, a record number, resulting in £52m of fines.
- Secured 11 director disqualifications for competition law breaches involving roofing materials, Fludrocortisone acetate tablets that are used to treat Addison’s disease and the anti-depressant Nortriptyline, and precast concrete drainage.
- Launched antitrust cases into large digital companies including Google and Apple that would previously have been reserved to the European Commission.
- Secured commitments to refund customers over £200 million for holidays cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, through investigations into 5 major package travel companies: TUI UK, Virgin Holidays, Lastminute.com, LoveHolidays, and Teletext Holidays.
- Secured commitments from companies in the holiday rentals and weddings sectors, including the provision of refunds.
- Secured formal commitments across 4 other investigations into consumer protection issues, including commitments from Instagram to do more to tackle the risk of fake online reviews and prevent hidden advertising on its platform; and Care UK to refund residents of care homes who paid unfair fees.
- Published the advice of the Digital Markets Taskforce in December 2020, putting forward recommendations to Government for the design and implementation of a pro-competition regime for the most powerful digital firms.
- Published a market study report on online platforms and digital advertising, a market investigation report on funerals, and a market review report on legal services, and launched market studies into electric vehicle charging and children’s social care provision.
Andrea Coscelli, chief executive of the CMA, recently said:
“This has been a challenging but highly successful year for the CMA, in which we have continued to act to protect consumers and promote competition throughout every part of the UK.
“I am proud that over the past three years we have generated an average benefit for people in the UK of £25 for every £1 spent on our operating costs. We are confident that the CMA is well-prepared for the challenges ahead and look forward to the opportunities presented by the changing landscape and our expanded role within it.”
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