Government looks to curb anti-competition

The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills has launched a new set of proposals aimed at challenging businesses which are acting anti-competitively.

Private actions can be complex and costly for SMEs

Private actions can be complex and costly for SMEs

The government is hoping to increase economic growth by encouraging small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) to tackle anti-competitive behaviour and to promote fairness by allowing them to claim redress for losses suffered as part of the practice.

Under the new propositions the Competition Appeal Tribunal will be allowed to hear more kinds of competition cases and will be given further powers to allow SMEs to make challenges faster and cheaper.

Additionally, an introduction of an opt-out collective actions regime for competition law will allow consumers and businesses to club together and bring a case forward for shared losses.

The Department also hopes to promote the Alternative Dispute Resolution so that courts are seen as the last option while also making sure that private actions complement the public enforcement regime through incentives for whistle-blowers.

Business minister Norman Lamb comments, 'Our main aim for these reforms is to promote fairness and act as a further deterrent for firms behaving anti-competitively. Small businesses and consumers will be better equipped to represent their own interests, stop anti-competitive behaviour, and seek redress if they have suffered loss.'

Lamb adds that the new proposals are 'complementary' to those recently made by the UK competition regime and are set to encourage productivity and growth in Britain.

The three month consultation to discuss the changes will run until 24 July.