Delay to Digital Markets Bill could stifle tech innovation, says Lords Committee Chair
11 May 2022
The Digital Markets, Competition and Consumer Bill must be brought to Parliament ‘without delay’, the Chair of the Lords Communications and Digital Committee says in a speech in the House of Lords.
- Parliamentlive TV:Baroness Stowell of Beeston’s speech in the House of Lords, 11 May 2022 [expected to be at 4.00 pm]
- Communications and Digital Committee
The Bill, which aims to give the competition regulator more powers to curb the tech titans, was announced in the Queen’s speech yesterday, but no timetable has yet been outlined by the Government.
The Chair, Baroness Stowell of Beeston, wrote to Digital Minister Chris Philp in February urging Government to place the new enforcement body, the Digital Markets Unit, on a statutory footing as a priority. He responded this week that the new competition regime ‘will be far reaching, addressing a wide range of harms across multiple markets and sectors’ but did not provide a clear timeline for introducing the new legislation to Parliament.
Baroness Stowell of Beeston, Chair of the Committee, emphasised the importance of bringing forward this legislation:
“Internet regulation is not only about the Online Safety Bill – tackling anti-competitive practices from tech titans is the other half of the same coin, without the risks to freedom of speech. That’s why I welcome the Government’s commitment to introducing the new digital competition regime and the Digital Markets Unit as signalled in the Queen’s Speech.
“We cannot unleash the full potential of UK start-ups if the entrenched market power of these tech giants creates barriers to entry for entrepreneurs and stifles innovation. The Competition and Markets Authority estimates that Google and Facebook made excess UK profits of £2.4 billion in 2018 alone – harming consumers through higher prices.
“Introducing draft legislation is a positive step in the right direction but delays in tackling abuses have already resulted in significant consequences for UK businesses and consumers. The Government itself has recognised this is urgent. So I urge them to introduce this legislation to Parliament without delay."