Budget to bring in new powers to tackle unregulated firms

Philip Hammond 620px

Chancellor Philip Hammond is set to introduce measures in the Budget which will impose fines on unregulated firms that mistreat consumers.

The reforms will form part of a raft of initiatives to be set out in more detail in a Government consumer green paper later this year.

The paper will examine markets that are not working fairly for consumers and the Government’s plans to tackle these sectors.

Ahead of the paper, Hammond is expected to announce new enforcement powers for bodies such as the Competition and Markets Authority. Organisations will be able to ask civil courts to order fines against firms, including unregulated companies, where there has been a breach in consumer law.

Other measures Hammond is said to be considering include moves to simplify financial firms’ small print and terms and conditions.

The Chancellor is also reported to be planning an overhaul to long-term care funding, which may include tax-free access to pension pots and the return of the £72,000 cap on care costs, first proposed by economist Andrew Dilnot.

Hammond will deliver his first Budget on 8 March.