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To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform under what legislation construction industry cartels are prohibited; what prosecutions have been undertaken in cases where legal proceedings have been completed against (a) individuals and (b) companies for acting as a cartel in each of the last five years for which figures are available; and if he will make a statement.
Cartels are prohibited under the Competition Act 1998 and the Enterprise Act 2002 allows for prosecutions against individuals involved in cases acting in a cartel. There have been no prosecutions of individuals in the last five years, however three individuals have recently been charged and are awaiting a court hearing in respect of a cartel involving marine hoses and ancillary equipment. As the criminal cartel offence applies only to individuals, no company has been prosecuted. However, 13 decisions in civil proceedings have been made against 166 companies in relation to breaches of the Chapter 1 prohibition of the Competition Act 1998 (anti-competitive agreements) since 2003.