Small firms urged to embrace competition

Many believe competition law not relevant

Less than half of small businesses are aware of competition laws and are missing out on its benefits, according to the Office of Fair Trading (OFT).

Research from the organisation shows 49% of companies employing between 10 and 19 people have a good knowledge of competition law in the UK, compared to 80% of firms with more than 200 staff.

In an attempt to bridge this gap, the watchdog has launched the “Championing Competition” campaign to promote the positive aspects of competition for and to encourage small firms to embrace the Competition Act.

The OFT research found that the main reason small businesses remain unaware of the laws is a view that they are not relevant to their organisation. Only two out of five have taken action to ensure they comply with the Competition Act.

“This campaign will aim to improve understanding of competition law and how it can help small businesses,” said Sir John Vickers, chairman of the OFT. “We want to help them seize opportunities that competition brings.

“It is important for small businesses to be aware of their rights and responsibilities under competition law so that they can take best advantage from competitive markets,” he added.

In addition to extolling the benefits of competition, the campaign aims to help organisations avoid anti-competitive behaviour.

Companies involved in practices such as bid-rigging and price-fixing are encouraged to report such activities in exchange for more lenient policies that could exempt them from penalties.

The OFT also aims to build its relationships with business organisations and trade bodies to ensure its campaign reaches a wider audience.

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