To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps he is taking to help prevent multinational corporations creating private monopolies during the covid-19 outbreak.
The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) is responsible for investigating competition issues in the UK. The Government has ensured that the CMA has significant powers to investigate and act if it finds that companies are behaving anti-competitively in a market.
The CMA has created a dedicated taskforce to monitor and respond to competition and consumer problems arising from the pandemic. It has also published guidance on its approach to essential business cooperation and merger assessments during the COVID-19 pandemic.
In addition, the Government laid secondary legislation on 22 June to amend the Enterprise Act 2002 to strengthen the Government’s powers to intervene in certain mergers and takeovers. The Government can now intervene on public interest grounds in order to maintain UK capability to combat or mitigate the effects of public health emergencies. Further, subject to Parliament’s approval of a draft statutory instrument, the Government will be shortly be able to intervene in smaller mergers in three of the most national security sensitive sectors: artificial intelligence, cryptographic authentication and advanced materials.