• April 23, 2024
 Central to CMA’s 2021/22 Plan is helping vulnerable consumers

Business office staff are analyzing data graphs to summarize annual results.

Central to CMA’s 2021/22 Plan is helping vulnerable consumers

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) Annual Plan consultation 2021/22 puts vulnerable consumers at the heart of their future plans.

As with everyone, the CMA has had a tough ride over the past 12 months but they state “The CMA has an important role to play in building trust and confidence when people buy goods and services, which will be critical to the economic recovery from the pandemic.”

And even after the pandemic begins to pass, it will have potentially wide-ranging and persistent effects on economic growth and productivity in future.

The CMA will continue to fulfil its duties, but with focus on the following themes:

“-Protecting consumers and driving recovery during and after the coronavirus pandemic. We will do so with a particular focus on:
-Protecting the vulnerable from breaches of competition and consumer protection laws and poorly functioning markets
-Supporting the UK economy by fostering competition to promote innovation, productivity and growth 
-Taking our place as a global competition and consumer protection authority as we assume our new responsibilities after the EU Exit Transition Period 
-Fostering effective competition in digital markets
-Supporting the transition to a low carbon economy”

Their main themes for 2021/22 focuses around vulnerable consumers, their plan states….

“We recognise that it can be confusing and time-consuming for consumers to shop around and that the practices of some suppliers can exacerbate these problems in some markets. The most vulnerable in our society can have even greater challenges engaging in markets, such as those on low incomes, people who struggle to use online services, or people with poor mental health who may avoid or fear change.”

“……..Helping vulnerable consumers is central to the CMA’s mission. We can all be vulnerable in certain contexts: for example, if we need to make a purchase at a stressful time. Some of us will experience vulnerability during particularly difficult periods of our lives (eg bereavement and sudden unemployment), whereas for others vulnerability derives from longer term challenges, such as physical disabilities, protracted periods of mental health issues, or being on a low income. “

Over the past year, the CMA has a challenge to protect consumers in the unprecedented circumstances of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Since 2018, the CMA has been carrying out a market investigation into the supply of services by funeral directors at the point of need and the supply of crematoria services. Last summer, the Covid-19 pandemic has seriously impacted on the CMA’s in depth investigation into the funerals sector, a move which was welcomed by the industry as a whole. The CMA confirmed that they do not have the legal power to suspend or extend the investigation as some of the proposals or solutions that they have suggested could not be carried out safely during the Covid epidemic. But it was reported at the time, in their recommendations report, that once we are in more stable conditions, CMA will look to introduce an additional market investigation.

Read CMA’s Annual Plan Consultation in full here.

Toni Ryder-McMullin

Toni is the Media Officer for Today’s Conveyancer, Today’s Wills & Probate and Today's Family Lawyer. I worked for a law firm for 16 years, during my time at the firm I worked as a company commercial legal secretary for 7 years but changed careers and moved into marketing for the remaining 9 years – where I covered all aspects of marketing. While in the marketing role, I achieved a CIM Professional Certificate in Marketing and CAM Diploma in Digital Marketing.