Fideres has responded to two consultations by the government, the first on, “Reforming Competition and Consumer Policy” proposes a series of changes to the government’s competition policy. The second, “A New Pro-Competition Regime for Digital Markets” contains the Government’s proposals for a new ex-ante regulator of digital markets.
In commenting on the proposals, Chris Pike, Fideres’ Managing Director and Head of Digital Markets, said that the development of an ex-ante regulator for digital markets is an important step that is urgently needed to address the challenges in digital markets that cannot be resolved by competition law alone. He suggested that it is in line with a growing international consensus on the best way to address the challenges posed in these markets, and highlighted the role that private enforcement can play in delivering an effective and efficient regime. He also supported the move to amend the substantive test on mergers. However, he argued that the agency’s primary duty should be to “further the interests of consumers and citizens in digital markets, by promoting competition” and that it should be given a secondary inclusivity objective (comparable to the Bank of England’s Secondary Competition Objective). These would, he suggested, help fix some of the blind spots that exist in relation to anticompetitive harm to workers, whilst ensuring that competition policy is enforced in a way that contributes towards achieving shared prosperity.