John Penrose publishes independent report to strengthen UK’s competition regime 

John Penrose

John Penrose MP has today 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.

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.

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.