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Competition should be objective to avoid more consolidation

Which? has called for the Prudential Regulation Authority to be given a primary competition objective to ensure it does not contribute to market consolidation.

Giving evidence to the Treasury select committee last week, Which? principal policy adviser Dominic Lindley said the objective is important following the increase in market concentration in the wake of the Lloyds TSB-HBOS merger. He said: “Without a competition remit, there is always the danger that resolution will involve increases in con-centration and reductions in competition.”

Consumer Focus chair Christine Farnish said: “A competition objective properly set out in a statutory remit tempers the temptation to do more regulation and write rules if it is not going to solve the problem.”

She said: “Effective competition is not a narrow way of looking at how many providers, supplier and products there are but at whether consumers have got informed choice, can exercise their market power to buy good stuff and put bad pro-viders out of business.”

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