Paper plea rejected

Jeffrey Preston, director general of Fair Trading, has rejected calls for an early decision to make a further reference to the Monopolies and Mergers Commission of the wholesale distribution of newspapers.

Mr Preston said trends in newspaper distribution would continue to be monitored and the possibility of a further reference to the MMC in the future was not ruled out.

The trade association representing newsagents, the National Federation of Retail Newsagents, and others had argued that substantial changes in the industry since the MMC looked at the wholesale distribution of newspapers in 1993 warranted a further reference.

However, the director general said: "I have concluded that at present there are insufficient grounds to justify putting the whole matter back to the MMC."