On 10 May 2022, the Queen’s speech confirmed the government’s intent to bring forward “draft legislation to promote competition, strengthen consumer rights and protect households and businesses” in the draft Digital Markets, Competition and Consumer Bill.
The reforms cover a range of items, namely:
- The strengthening of the UK’s consumer law enforcement regime, providing the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) with new powers. These new powers will broadly mirror the CMA’s reach in relation to competition law enforcement, including the ability to impose significant fines.
- Changes to consumer rights, including ‘subscription traps’, fake online reviews, prepayment protections and an update to the Package Travel and Linked Travel Arrangements Regulations.
- A number of reforms to the UK’s competition enforcement regime, granting additional evidence gathering and enforcement powers.
- Alterations to the UK merger control regime, including raising the turnover threshold and adding a new jurisdictional test aimed at allowing the CMA to review ‘killer acquisitions’.