Competition & Markets Authority
Scotland to benefit from CMA expansion
The CMA is set for a significant increase to its Scottish team, Chief Executive Andrea Coscelli will announce during a visit to Edinburgh.
The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) aims to grow its Edinburgh contingent to around 25-30 employees, with ambitions to grow further, so it can build its talent base and prepare for the UK’s Exit from the EU.
While the CMA has always had a small presence in Scotland, it is now building on that to ensure it has the talent to truly promote competition and ensure consumers get a fair deal right across the UK.
The expansion will also be a big part of the organisation’s preparation for Brexit. This is expected to increase its merger reviews and investigations into cartels and other anti-competitive behaviours as work previously led from Brussels comes to the UK.
It will allow the CMA to build even stronger relationships with consumer and business groups, other regulators in Scotland as well as the Scottish Government and Parliament, and increase its capability to carry out UK-wide projects from Scotland.
Chief Executive Andrea Coscelli said
It is essential that the Competition and Markets Authority has a presence right across the United Kingdom, so we can make sure competition is working for people, businesses and the economy in every corner of the nation.
Though we already have a great team in Scotland, by expanding our numbers we can go further to understand the concerns and issues affecting ordinary people.
And as we prepare to leave the European Union, it has never been more important for the UK’s competition authority to grow its talent base.
Although the new roles will not focus exclusively on Scottish cases, the CMA can and does address Scottish competition and consumer issues.
As a result of the CMA’s work, for example, Glasgow University no longer stops students from graduating because of unpaid rent in student accommodation fees. In a separate case, the CMA fined Aberdeen based Balmoral Tanks £130,000 for illegally exchanging price information. The CMA has also recently investigated major mergers in Scotland like the deal between North Sea oil companies Wood Group and Amec Foster Wheeler and the purchase by Standard Life of Aberdeen Asset Management.
Beyond specific investigations, people right across the UK are benefiting from the CMA’s wide-ranging examinations of certain industries. Last year, it issued a record £84.2 million fine to pharmaceutical giant Pfizer, and a £5.2 million fine to Flynn Pharma, after finding that each charged excessive and unfair prices in the UK for anti-epilepsy drug phenytoin sodium capsules. And the authority’s call for reforms in the care home sector aim to make sure people in Scotland, England, Wales and Northern Ireland get the support they need in their old age.
Keith Brown, Economy Secretary for the Scottish Government who will meet the CMA Board in Edinburgh on 30 January, commented
The CMA’s expansion in Scotland is a clear sign of its commitment to taking action and making the market fair for consumers and businesses.
It’s a move I’ve championed and provides real opportunity to benefit Scotland’s economy by identifying and tackling the problems faced here by our consumers and businesses.
This will support our on-going work around the collaborative economy and ensure that we continue to develop our approach to consumer, competition and regulatory policy.
Notes to editors
- The CMA board will meet in Edinburgh on 30-31 January. Minutes will be published on the CMA website.
- 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.
- Media queries should be sent to email@example.com or journalists can call 020 3738 6337 or 07774 134814.
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