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Explore how to give consumers a voice in the regulation of business

Last updated: 10:59pm 27 November 2018

We will explore how to give consumers a voice in the regulation of business.

Conservative Party Manifesto 2017, p.59

Our verdict

The manifesto outlines an ambition to tackle “economic pressures that hold back ordinary, working families”. One of the mechanisms it proposes to achieve that is increasing the fairness of consumer markets. Business regulation can act as a corrective when markets produce unfair outcomes – according to the National Audit Office:

“The characteristics of some markets mean that, left to their own devices, they risk failing to produce behaviour or results in accordance with public interest (for example, clean air) or policy objectives.”

This policy is a pledge simply to “explore” ways of giving consumers a voice in the regulatory process, to curb the tendency of some businesses to act against consumers’ interests. It is a vast area encompassing all business activity in the country. There is a great deal of documentation relating to business regulation, so we’re looking for broad government efforts to engage with consumers and give them a voice.

A consultation on regulatory, competition and enforcement regimes took place between April and July 2018, the Modernising consumer markets: green paper.

The green paper addressed the question of “how the government ensures modern markets work for all consumers”. In terms of giving consumers a voice, it said:

“We welcome input from all – business and investors, consumers and consumer groups…”

The feedback from the consultation is currently being analysed and we’ll keep an eye out for the government response before marking this as ‘done’. In the meantime this is ‘in progress’. Follow this policy for updates.

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There's always room for debate

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