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Volume 455: debated on Tuesday 16 January 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what representations he has made to the Competition Commission inquiry into supermarket procedures; and when the inquiry is expected to be completed. (112930)

Competition in the grocery sector is a matter for the independent competition authorities and not the DTI. The effect of the Enterprise Act 2002 was to remove Ministers from decisions on competition issues. Since the Act came into force in 2004, Ministers have had no formal role in the supermarket question and therefore have not made representations to the Competition Commission (CC).

The Office of Fair Trading (OFT) has asked the CC to investigate if any features of this market prevent, restrict or distort competition and if so, what action might be taken to remedy these. The CC has a statutory requirement to report within two years of a reference to it by the OFT. It is required to publish its final report by 8 May 2008, but is aiming to do so by October 2007. The current timetable for the inquiry can be found at