CMA builds on plan to support people, businesses and UK economy
The CMA is inviting views on its areas of focus for 2024 to 2025
In last year’s annual plan the CMA (Competition and Markets Authority) set out a new long-term strategy. It did this to ensure that as the UK’s primary competition and consumer protection authority, it is set up to deliver the best outcomes for the people, businesses and economy of the UK in the face of a more volatile, economically challenging and technologically disruptive environment for all.
This 2024 to 2025 draft annual plan continues that strategy, builds on it, and updates the CMA’s near-term areas of focus for the next 12 months as it takes on the new responsibilities that Parliament has given it through the Digital Markets, Competition and Consumers (DMCC) Bill.
The CMA’s purpose is to help people, businesses and the UK economy by promoting competitive markets and tackling unfair behaviour. This will ensure that:
- People can be confident they are getting great choices and fair deals
- Competitive, fair-dealing businesses can innovate and thrive
- The whole UK economy can grow productively and sustainably
As an independent body, the CMA is able to maintain an objective, longer-term view of its strategy and the external context it operates within. This allows the CMA to provide stakeholders with a reasonable degree of stability and certainty around its longer-term direction and this is reflected in the draft annual plan.
While the CMA’s overall strategy closely reflects last year’s revamped approach, there are some targeted updates to areas of focus for 2024 to 2025. These include preparing for new powers expected as part of the Digital Markets, Consumers and Competition (DMCC) Bill. This will, for the first time, empower the CMA to decide when consumer law has been broken and give it the ability to directly impose significant financial penalties for breaching it. The DMCC Bill will also mark a step-change in the CMA’s work in digital markets, using new and targeted powers to regulate those players who have entrenched and substantial market power. The CMA is working to ensure it is ready to make full use of the powers, once legislation is in force.
There are also updates to the CMA’s areas of focus which reflect the progress the CMA has made over the last year in its work on labour markets, artificial intelligence and housing.
Marcus Bokkerink, chair of the CMA, said:
"Our 2023 annual plan set out a new long-term strategy for the CMA. This strategy enables the CMA, as the UK’s primary competition and consumer protection agency, to deliver positive outcomes for the people and businesses and economy for the years to come.
"Our strategy is already delivering results. Throughout the last 12 months we have acted decisively to protect open, competitive market conditions and to protect consumers from unfair practices - from making it easier for drivers to find the cheapest fuel, to clamping down on misleading online sales tactics, to creating a level playing field for all businesses in online marketplaces, and preventing anti-competitive dominance from emerging through merger control. All these actions drive innovation and growth across the economy. We are committed to deliver real value for money for the taxpayer - our work has contributed over £20 of direct financial benefit to consumers for each £1 spent over the last three years.
"The next year will be a significant one for us. We will reach ten years since the CMA was established and take on new powers to deliver even more impact for consumers and businesses as part of the DMCC Bill. We are working hard to ensure that, once legislation is in force, we are ready to hit the ground running on day one.
"Our consultation on the proposals set out in this annual plan forms a critical part of our thinking and we are, as ever, grateful for breadth and diversity of views this process brings."
The CMA welcomes suggestions in response to its annual plan consultation by 29 January. Beyond this consultation, the CMA will continue to engage with business groups, consumer organisations and other stakeholders to further develop its areas of focus and understand more the challenges facing people and businesses across the UK today and in the future. The CMA will publish its final annual plan in spring 2024.
More information and how to respond to the consultation is available on the draft annual plan consultation page.