The Digital Markets, Competition and Consumers Bill is a substantial piece of proposed legislation with 335 clauses and 27 schedules. It is structured in 6 parts. It is scheduled to have its second reading in the House of Lords on 5 December 2023.

The government is concerned that competition in the UK’s markets may have weakened in several sectors since the 2008 financial crisis. The bill, a government bill carried over from the 2022–23 session, would:

  • create a new regime to increase competition in digital markets by conferring powers and duties on the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) to regulate competition in these markets
  • update powers to investigate and enforce competition law
  • update and enhance powers to investigate and enforce consumer protection law and resolve consumer disputes
  • give consumers protections in respect of unfair commercial practices, subscription traps and prepayments to savings schemes 

A large number of government amendments and 18 government new clauses were agreed and added to the bill at report stage in the House of Commons. They included new clauses to implement the recommendations of a CMA market study report on road fuel published in July 2023.

The bill has cross-party support. The Labour Party has said it broadly welcomes the bill but has expressed concerns about the effectiveness of some proposed measures, particularly provisions on subscription traps.

This briefing focuses on providing a summary of the bill’s proceedings at report stage in the House of Commons.

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