Research published this year by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) indicated that businesses generally, and SMEs in particular, have a very low understanding of competition law. The total level of awareness stood at just 19% over the whole of the country and all sizes of company.
The CMA has therefore started to roll out an awareness campaign aimed at SMEs and they have decided that solicitors are in the best position to help them. They have therefore asked firms in particular areas to help circulate information to their clients. In an age where it is often fashionable to characterise lawyers as more of a hindrance than a help, it is gratifying to see a government agency take such a proactive role in partnering with them to get the message out.
SMEs often think that competition law is something only mega companies have to think about. However, this is not the case. Sometimes the market affected by the competition issue is very niche or confined to a small geographical area. Alternatively, even relatively small distribution arrangements can be subject to regulation.
The roll-out is moving across the country and the East of England is the latest area to be targeted in this way. While the South East has a higher amount of awareness of competition issues generally, we can expect the campaign to reach us eventually. In the meantime, if any business has any concerns or queries about competition law, our team of experts across Berkshire would be delighted to assist.
Around 200 law firms headquartered in the East of England will be contacted by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), and encouraged to share the CMA’s easy-to-use competition law information with their small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) clients. The information is intended to help SMEs recognise anti-competitive practices, comply with competition law and report suspicions of illegal anti-competitive activity. The approach is part of the CMA’s ongoing drive to boost awareness of, and compliance with, competition law, following the launch of its competing fairly in business: advice for small businesses materials. The East of England is the eighth region to be chosen as the target of an awareness-raising drive.