Business and Trade – in the House of Commons on 18th May 2023.
What assessment her Department has made of the potential impact of the Digital Markets, Competition and Consumers Bill on levels of competition between businesses in digital markets.
The Digital Markets, Competition and Consumers Bill will establish a new pro-competition regime for digital markets. This will boost competition between businesses in digital markets, driving productivity, growth and innovation.
The Competition and Markets Authority’s recent ruling blocking the acquisition of Activision Blizzard has made us an outlier. Its intervention in the nascent, innovative cloud gaming market was based on potential rather than real market power. You will know, Mr Speaker, that regulators have as much of a lever on growth in the economy as the Government. As we are doing in financial services, all regulators should have a remit for growth, and maybe—just maybe—we can call them “regulators for growth”.
I am grateful to my right hon. Friend for his question. He may have noticed that we recently launched a paper, “Smarter Regulation to Grow the Economy”, so we absolutely agree with that point. Some of the measures it proposes are about ensuring that Ministers, officials and others look at alternatives to regulation, rather than jumping straight to regulation, and have an earlier impact assessment of what regulation would mean for businesses’ costs, rather than just looking at other factors. I absolutely agree with him that the best regulator is competition—the No. 1 thing we want to drive forward—which is also the best thing for growth. I am keen to talk to him about this matter in further detail after these questions.
A huge element of growth in the digital market is the crypto industry. The European Parliament has just signed off the Markets in Cryptoassets Regulation. That ambitious and forward-thinking law gives the European Union the first rules to govern the crypto industry. When will this Government do the same?
We are looking at the crypto sector carefully, and there was a report yesterday from the Treasury Committee on that matter. The crypto sector is moving at pace, and it is important that regulation keeps up with that. We have regulated already on some of the promotions around cryptocurrency, and it is something we will keep under scrutiny. I am sure my Treasury colleagues will be doing that even more than I shall.