The general principles of UK competition policy and some awareness of EU competition policy.

The costs and benefits of such policies.

The UK is a mixed economy with some production of goods and services in the public sector and some in the private sector. In the 1980s a privatisation programme resulted in many state-run monopolies being sold off. The government tried to de-regulate these industries and create a more competitive environment. However, some industries have such high fixed costs they exhibit characteristics of natural monopolies so that the state-run monopolies merely became private monopolies. Therefore, it was felt necessary to regulate these industries, and where possible, open the markets to competition.

Some examples of regulatory bodies for these industries are:

Ofcom - independent regulator and competition authority for the communications industries. (The Of meaning the Office for…..)

Ofgem - the Office of the Gas and Electricity Markets

Ofwat - the Water Services Regulation Authority

Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) Responsible for safety and economic regulation of British aviation as well as consumer protection in commercial aviation.

Office of Rail and Road (ORR)is the independent safety and economic regulator for Britain's railways and monitors England’s highways.

The above examples cover specific industries. A higher tier of regulation also exists and important examples of this are:

Financial Conduct Authority (FCA)
is the conduct regulator for 56,000 financial services firms and financial markets in the UK

Protect consumers and secure an appropriate degree of protection for consumers.

Protect financial markets by protecting and enhancing the integrity of the UK financial system.

Promote effective competition competition in the interests of consumers.
Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA)
The Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA) was created as a part of the Bank of England by the Financial Services Act (2012) and is responsible for the prudential regulation and supervision of around 1,700 banks, building societies, credit unions, insurers and major investment firms.

Competition and Markets Authority (CMA)
Work to promote competition for the benefit of consumers, both within and outside the UK.

investigating mergers which could restrict competition
conducting market studies and investigations in markets where there may be competition and consumer problems
investigating where there may be breaches of UK or EU prohibitions against anti-competitive agreements and abuses of dominant positions
bringing criminal proceedings against individuals who commit the cartel offence
enforcing consumer protection legislation to tackle practices and market conditions that make it difficult for consumers to exercise choice
co-operating with sector regulators and encouraging them to use their competition powers
considering regulatory references and appeals