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Three quarters of businesses do not understand competition law

More than three quarters of British businesses (77 per cent) do not fully understand competition laws, according to new data from The Competition & Markets Authority (CMA). 

The study by the CMA found that 55 per cent of the company bosses surveyed by the CMA knew price-fixing was illegal, while 27 per cent were unsure whether it was acceptable to agree prices with rivals.

A further 23 per cent thought it was “okay to discuss prospective bids with competing bidders”, and 29 per cent were not aware whether bid-rigging was illegal.

Breaching competition law can lead to fines of up to 10 per cent of global turnover for a business and their directors may be disqualified from managing a company for up to 15 years if found guilty.

More serious cases can be considered criminals offences, which can result in individuals being jailed for up to five years.

Following the revelations, the CMA has published new guidance online to help businesses avoid becoming embroiled in price-fixing, bid-rigging and market-sharing.

“We have worked closely with groups representing small businesses to learn more about what they do and don’t know about competition law and they told us they need information that is short, simple and easy-to-use,” said Alex Chisholm, the CMA’s chief executive.

“These new materials explain which behaviours are illegal, and why they cause harm. The victims of anti-competitive activity will often be other businesses, so knowing what illegal behaviour looks like and how to report it can help businesses protect themselves from others which are acting unfairly.”

Link: Competition & Markets Authority