Independent report: John Penrose MP publishes proposals to strengthen UK’s competition regime

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  • Independent report from John Penrose MP sets out proposals to boost competition to benefit businesses and consumers across the UK
  • review considers how the UK’s competition regime can be updated in the context of COVID-19 and the end of the transition period
  • “A free-trading, global post-Brexit Britain should aim to have one of the best competition and consumer regimes in the world”, Mr Penrose said

John Penrose MP has today (16 February) published proposals to update the UK’s competition and consumer regime.

In September 2020, Mr Penrose was invited by the government to conduct an independent review of UK competition policy, to see how it can be reformed as the country begins life as an independent trading nation and builds back better from COVID-19.

In his final report – Power to the People – Mr Penrose recommends measures to reform the UK’s competition institutions for the digital age.

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Mr Penrose brings a unique perspective from his experience in business, an understanding of everyday consumer issues from 15 years as a constituency MP, and long-running interest in the subject.

Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng said:

The UK’s competition laws and institutions are highly regarded across the globe, however as we build back better from the pandemic and start life as an independent trading nation, we have a golden opportunity to strengthen that reputation.

I want to thank John Penrose for his hard work on this independent report, which considers how the UK’s competition regime can promote productivity, reward and encourage innovation and, most importantly, get consumers a better deal.

We will consider John’s recommendations and respond in due course.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak said:

This government continues to champion British businesses as demonstrated by our unprecedented £280 billion package of support throughout the pandemic.

We must strengthen competition in our economy as we build back stronger from COVID-19 and protecting consumers will remain at the heart of this important work.

In his report, Mr Penrose outlines options to promote competition in the UK and to improve consumer confidence.This includes proposals to protect consumers from new kinds of rip-offs, and to ensure that they can expect fair treatment, particularly in online transactions.

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Mr Penrose recommends further work to strengthen and speed up enforcement of consumer and competition law.

Mr Penrose’s report complements recent government action on competition.

In November 2020, the government announced the formation of a new Digital Markets Unit to oversee a pro-competition regime for platforms including those funded by digital advertising, such as Google and Facebook.

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Biography

John Penrose was appointed the Prime Minister’s Anti-Corruption Champion in December 2017 and was reappointed in July 2019. He was previously a Minister of State in the Northern Ireland Office from November 2018 to July 2019. John was first elected as MP for Weston, Worle and the Villages in 2005.

Before entering Parliament, John had an extensive business career, which included roles at: J P Morgan (risk management on a bank trading floor), McKinsey (strategic management consultancy), Thompson (academic book publishing), and Pearson PLC (Managing Director of Longman’s schoolbook publishing operations). John also helped found Credit Market Analysis (publishing credit data for financial firms).

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