Commentary: UK competition policy adrift
Wednesday 09 December 1992
We may have had a Green Paper from the President of the Board of Trade setting out his plans for clamping down on abuses of dominant market positions. Yet, strange as it may seem, Mr Heseltine has still to brief Sir Bryan Carsberg, Director-General of Fair Trading, on how he should interpret competition and mergers policy six months after Sir Bryan arrived at the OFT.
For the past decade, industry and commerce have lived with the Tebbit doctrine - namely that when mergers and monopolies are examined, the public interest lies in the narrow test of whether they affect competition.
Is there now to be a Heseltine doctrine? Neither we, nor Sir Bryan, yet know. Is the Government happy with the proposals outlined yesterday by Sir Leon Brittan, the EC's competition commissioner, that Brussels be given authority to investigate more of the mergers that at present fall to domestic authorities to examine? We await an answer.
In the meantime, UK competition policy is being left to drift. In the recent case of British Airways and Dan-Air, Mr Heseltine, advised by Sir Bryan, waved the merger through despite observing that it raised competition concerns.
During his internal exile under Margaret Thatcher, Mr Heseltine gave the impression that wider considerations than simply those of competition should inform mergers policy. He owes it to business to spell out what his position is now.
Notes from a small island: Is Sealand an independent 'micronation' or an illegal fortress?
Justin Bieber's unfinished monkey business
World news in pictures
Cameron goes to war with press over 'swivel-eyed loons' slur
Revealed: Eerie new images show forgotten French apartment that was abandoned at the outbreak of World War II and left untouched for 70 years
- 1 Tears and cheers as David Beckham ends glittering career after helping PSG to final win
- 2 Heading for America? Prepare for the longest US immigration queues ever
- 3 You thought Ryanair's attendants had it bad? Wait 'til you hear about their pilots
- 4 Cameron goes to war with press over 'swivel-eyed loons' slur
- 5 It’s official: thanks to Stephen Hawking's Israel boycott, anti-Semitism is no more
BMF is the UK’s biggest and best loved outdoor fitness classes
Find out what The Independent's resident travel expert has to say about one of the most beautiful small cities in the world
Win anything from gadgets to five-star holidays on our competitions and offers page.
iJobs Money & Business
£550 - £600 per day: Orgtel: Fidessa Analyst / PM - Banking - London - Up to £...
£450 - £500 per day: Orgtel: Sourcing Manager - Banking - London - Up to £500p...
To be discussed at interview.: Queen Elizabeth's School: An experienced and ef...
£294.05 - £330.92 per day + 150 per day travel and accommodation: Orgtel: A le...