It is for the Office of Fair Trading (OFT), as the UK’s independent competition authority, to consider such matters. I understand the OFT is aware of, and is actively monitoring recent developments in this market. It will carefully consider representations from interested parties about the potential for these to impact on competition. It will also take any such representations into account in the context of taking its final decision on whether to refer the newspaper and magazine supply sector to the Competition Commission for a market investigation. The public consultation on its draft decision not to make such a reference closed on 19 May.
Ministers have had no discussions with the OFT about this matter during the last month. Officials have similarly had no substantive discussions with the OFT on this issue though they have spoken with colleagues at the OFT about practical matters relating to my Noble Friend the Secretary of State's decision on the future of the statutory undertakings from newspaper wholesalers which was announced on 20 April. Officials have also sought input as necessary from the OFT in order to provide accurate responses to certain recent Parliamentary questions relating to the OFT's work on newspaper and magazine distribution issues.