The CMA Annual Plan for 2023-2024

The Competition & Markets Authority (the “CMA”) published its Annual Plan for 2023-2024 on 31 March 2023 (the “Annual Plan”).

The CMA has taken a new approach to setting out the Annual Plan by separating this into two sections:

  1. the CMA’s ambition and medium-term priorities for the next 3 years; and
  2. the key areas on which the CMA intends to focus on in the next 12 months.

The CMA is an independent non-ministerial UK Government department and is the UK’s principal competition and consumer protection authority. It helps people, businesses and the UK economy by promoting competitive markets and tackling unfair behaviour, and it is responsible for strengthening business competition and preventing and reducing anti-competitive activities.

The CMA has acknowledged that they face far-reaching changes to the external environment and equally material changes to their responsibilities and functions.

In light of this, the CMA have tried to anticipate how markets and the bases of competition could evolve and have therefore reconsidered their strategic objectives and how they can deliver the biggest positive impact for people, businesses and the UK economy in the years ahead.

Medium-term priorities

People can be confident they are getting great choices and fair deals

  • The CMA will consistently focus action on the areas where consumers spend the most money and time, particularly for people who need help the most.
  • The CMA will protect people from harmful business practices and this benefits people directly but also benefits those businesses that do the right thing, and who should not be placed at a competitive disadvantage as a result.
  • The CMA has also acknowledged that they must take action against businesses that breach competition law. Such action is necessary not only to address the breach, but also to help deter businesses that might otherwise be tempted to break the law. This ultimately benefits people in the form of lower prices and better choices

Competitive, fair-dealing businesses can innovate and thrive

  • Competition through innovation can drive productivity and improve customer choice. The CMA states that they will take action across both established and emergent markets to ensure that innovating businesses of all sizes can gain effective market access to drive that competitive process.
  • The CMA can intervene at an early stage of market development and their involvement can help ensure that the market develops in a competitive way. This involvement can take different forms, including advocacy and market studies.

The whole UK economy can grow productively and sustainably

  • The CMA will continue to take action to accelerate the transition to a net zero economy and promote environmental sustainability.
  • The CMA will also take action to promote economic resilience over the medium-term.

Areas of Focus for 2023 to 2024

The below main areas of focus have been identified:

People can be confident they are getting great choices and fair deals

  • Act in areas of essential spending and where people are under particular financial pressure, such as accommodation and caring for ourselves and others.
  • Address pressure selling and false or misleading pricing practices, including through online choice architecture.
  • Deter anti-competitive behaviour
  • Identify potential competition issues within UK labour markets

Competitive, fair-dealing businesses can innovate and thrive

  • Enable innovating businesses to access digital markets such as mobile browsers and the distribution of cloud gaming services, e-commerce and digital advertising.
  • Encourage effective competition in emergent markets.

The whole UK economy can grow productively and sustainably

  • Act in existing and emergent markets for sustainable products and services.
  • Undertake further work on green claims and on energy efficiency.
  • Identify and act in areas where we can have the most positive impact on innovation and productivity and influence the pro-competitive development of markets.
  • Ensure digital markets are competitive, including through preparing for the introduction of new statutory powers for the Digital Markets Unit.
  • Identify economic risks the CMA is well-placed to address to support the resilience of the UK economy.

The above areas of focus are necessarily non-exhaustive. A significant proportion of the CMA’s work is non-discretionary, for example in reviewing mergers that are announced or completed, working on regulatory appeals or advising on subsidies of particular interest – and the CMA will also need to be flexible in responding to unforeseen developments during the course of the year that require them to take action to help people, businesses and the whole UK economy.

The CMA has advised that they will continue to review intelligence and an evolving pipeline of potential near-term work across candidate sectors, projects or cases that align with their medium-term priorities.

Like to talk about this Insight?

Get Insights in your inbox

To Top