Competition & Markets Authority

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The CMA is a non-ministerial govt department, responsible for strengthening business competition and preventing and reducing anti-competitive activities. In situations where competition could be unfair or consumer choice may be affected, the CMA is responsible for:[1]


Conservatives (May)
Oversight of the Competition & Markets Authority passed to the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy.
Apr.2014CMA: The Competition & Markets Authority formally replaced the Competition Commission, and also took over several responsibilities from the Office of Fair Trading, which was abolished.
Oct.2013 The Competition & Markets Authority was launched in "shadow" form. It brought together the Competition Commission and the competition and certain consumer functions of the Office of Fair Trading into a single body.[4] (Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act 2013, Part 3)
Cons/LibDem (Cameron/Clegg)
CMA: Competition & Markets Authority The Department for Business, Innovation & Skills announced reforms to the consumer protection and competition regimes by merging the Competition Commission and the § Office of Fair Trading to create a new single body.ref
Labour (Blair)
The Competition Commission replaced the Monopolies & Mergers Commission, operating under the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills. The CC was responsible for investigating mergers, markets and other enquiries related to regulated industries under competition law. It was also responsible for taking appropriate actions and remedies where it found competition problems. The govt was still able to intervene on mergers that involve a specified public interest criterion such as media plurality, national security and financial stability. Created by the Competition Act 1998, it derived most of its powers from the Enterprise Act 2002, which gave it greater independence than the MMC had, in that it could make decisions on inquiries rather than giving recommendations to govt. National Archive, Competition CommissionWikipedia-W.svg,
Nov.1973 MMC: The Monopolies & Mergers Commission was set up to inquire into and to report on questions relating to specific mergers, monopolies, anti-competitive practice, the performance of public sector bodies, and the regulation of certain privatised industries. It had wider powers to deal with references from both the Office of Fair Trading or the Department of Trade & Industry.
From 1974, ministerial responsibility passed successively to the Secretary of State for Prices & Consumer Protection, Trade, and Trade & Industry. (Fair Trading Act 1973)
Conservatives (Heath)
Oversight of the Monopolies Commission passed to the Department of Trade & Industry.
Labour (Wilson)
Oversight of the Monopolies Commission passed to the Department of Employment & Productivity.
1965 The Monopolies Commission was again reconstituted, and its powers extended. ([Monopolies & Mergers Act 1965]).
Conservatives (Eden)
MC: The Monopolies Commission was formed from the ashes of the Monopolies & Restrictive Practices Commission. extended the powers of the MMC. A Restrictive Practices Court and a Registrar of restrictive trading agreements was also set up. (Restrictive Trade Practices Act 1955), Restrictive Practices CourtWikipedia-W.svg
Labour (Attlee)
MRPC: The Monopolies & Restrictive Practices Commission was established in response to the recommendations of several committees on particular cases of restrictive commercial activity. (Monopolies and Restrictive Practices (Inquiry and Control) Act 1948) National Archives, See also Criticism of the MMC.

Office of Fair Trading

Apr.2014 The Office of Fair Trading was closed. Its responsibilities passed to a number of different organisations: the Financial Conduct Authority became the regulator for the consumer credit industry; the Competition & Markets Authority for issues relating to anti-competitive practices, cartel activity (eg. price-fixing, bid-rigging, output quotas/restrictions or market-sharing arrangements) or a market not working well; and the Citizens Advice Bureau for advice or help with consumer problems and to report issues relating to trading standards.[1]
The sectoral regulators which shared concurrent competition and consumer powers with the OFT continued to share these powers with the CMA. These include OfCom, OfGem, the Office of the Rail Regulator, OfWat, the Civil Aviation Authority, the Financial Conduct Authority, the Utility Regulator of Northern Ireland (URegNI) and Monitor (competition powers only). Monitor became part of NHS Improvement in Apr.2016.[5]
Cons/LibDem (Cameron/Clegg)
Local authority Trading Standards Services took on the lead role in enforcing consumer protection law, including at the national level.[6][7] See Trading StandardsWikipedia-W.svg
Labour (Blair)
The Office of Fair Trading became formally independent from govt, and was given additional powers. The role of the Director General of Fair Trading was abolished and his powers given to the OFT, in an attempt to depersonalize the competition investigation process.[8] (Enterprise Act 2002)
Conservatives (Heath)
OFT: The Office of Fair Trading was established as a a non-ministerial govt department. The OFT's goal was to make markets work well for consumers, ensuring vigorous competition between fair dealing businesses and prohibiting unfair practices such as rogue trading, scams, and cartels.[9] Where appropriate, OFT investigations were referred to the Competition Commission, to enforce action, consumer awareness campaigns or to published recommendations to govt. (Fair Trading Act 1973)


  1. ^ OFT’s work and responsibilities after 31 March 2014. The Office of Fair Trading. Original archived on Feb.08.2014.