Competition Commission
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CC states case on competition reform

CC states case on competition reform

News Release issued by the COI News Distribution Service on 14 June 2011

The Competition Commission (CC) has today published its formal response to the Government’s consultation on reforms to the UK competition regime.

The government proposals, which were published in March, include merging the CC and competition functions of the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) into a single Competition and Markets Authority (CMA). The CC’s detailed response is available here.

The CC fully supports the Government’s objective of enhancing the UK’s world class competition regime and believes that a single competition authority will be able to ensure a more effective use of resources and powers and to streamline its processes to reduce the burden on business.

The new authority must preserve the strengths of the current regime: the clear separation between phase 1 (screening and selection of cases) and phase 2 (detailed investigation and decision-taking); the use of panels of independent expert members in phase 2 investiga-tions; and the operation of fair and transparent processes governed by statutory timetables.
The main scope for improvement would come from wider application of these strengths, by extending the two-phase system with decision-making by member panels to cartel and abuse of dominance cases and using statutory timetables, which currently apply to phase 2 investigations, more widely.

CC Chairman Roger Witcomb said:

The job of the competition authorities is to support economic growth and productivity by choosing the right cases to investigate and then delivering fair, robust decisions in a reasonable timescale. The creation of a new single authority offers the opportunity to achieve this task even more successfully by building on and extending the acknowledged strengths of the existing regime. We look forward to continuing to work with Ministers as they develop the proposals.

Notes to Editors

1. The CC is an independent public body, which carries out investigations into mergers, markets and the regulated industries.

2. The CC has a pool of around 40 part-time members (in addition to the Chairman and Deputy Chairs) from which it chooses those to sit on particular inquiry groups. Members are appointed for their individual experience, ability and diversity of background and many have active career interests. The appointment of members enables the CC to benefit from their relevant and current expertise in particular sectors or professions and support a robust and fair decision-making process.

3. In Global Competition Review’s annual survey of the world’s competition regimes, the CC has topped the table for the last four years.

4. Enquiries should be directed to Rory Taylor or Siobhan Allen or by ringing 020 7271 0242.


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