Outlook: Transparency

ENJOYABLE as it will be watching the chairman of Ford UK squirm as he tries to explain why a Mondeo costs 60 per cent more here than in Spain, the public hearings planned by the new Competition Commission as part of its car prices inquiry will be largely window-dressing.

For one thing, Ian Macallister will not be compelled to turn up. Even if he does, he can sidestep the more awkward questions by falling back on the tried and trusted excuse of commercial confidentiality. That said, this outbreak of glasnost around at the Department of Trade and Industry should be welcomed. There is no reason competition enquiries should be held in private. Public hearings are always the best guaranteed of fair process.