The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) is an independent non-ministerial department. They help people, businesses and the UK economy by promoting competitive markets and tackling unfair behaviour in a number of ways:
- they investigate mergers that have the potential to lead to a substantial lessening of competition. If a merger is likely to reduce competition substantially, the CMA can block it or impose remedies to address those concerns
- they take action against businesses and individuals that take part in cartels or anti-competitive behaviour
- they protect people from unfair trading practices, including in cases where unfair treatment suggests there may be a systemic market problem
- they investigate entire markets if they think there are competition or consumer problems
- they encourage government and other regulators to use competition effectively on behalf of consumers
- they carry out regulatory appeals in relation to issues like price controls
- they provide information and advice to people and businesses about rights and obligations under competition and consumer law
- they provide technical advice, reporting and monitoring in relation to the UK internal market, through the Office for the Internal Market
- they provide advice, reporting and monitoring in relation to government subsidies, through the Subsidy Advice Unit
We hold powers concurrently with the CMA which include the power to enforce the UK and EU competition law prohibitions on anti-competitive agreements and on abuse of a dominant position, as well as the power to conduct market studies and to refer a market for a full market investigation by the CMA.
Concurrency means that either we or the CMA may take on a particular case under the competition prohibitions, or they can make a market investigation reference. The way that we work together with the CMA has recently been revised in the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act 2013 (ERRA13) and associated secondary legislation. The UR and CMA have also agreed a Memorandum of Understanding that sets out how we will interact with each other at a working level.
The CMA’s environmental sustainability guidance on the application of Chapter I of the Competition Act 1998
On 12 October 2023, the Competition and Markets Authority published Guidance on the application of Chapter I of the Competition Act 1998 to environmental sustainability agreements (‘the CMA’s environmental sustainability guidance’).
Under section 54 of the Competition Act 1998, we have concurrent powers to enforce competition law in energy and water.
We will have regard for the CMA’s environmental sustainability guidance in the application of our concurrent competition powers.