Sunshine and Showers

Sunshine and Showers

max temp: 9°C

min temp: 4°C


East of England firms ‘unaware’ discussing prices with competitors against law, study finds

PUBLISHED: 17:11 23 October 2018 | UPDATED: 12:00 24 October 2018

Jason Freeman, CMA East of England champion Picture: CMA

Jason Freeman, CMA East of England champion Picture: CMA

Competition and Markets Authority

Many East of England businesses are unaware they are breaking the law when they fix or discuss prices with competing bidders when quoting for work, a survey has shown.

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has launched a national cartel awareness campaign to educate firms about illegal practices as research showed a startling lack of knowledge about competition law.

It is urging people to come forward if they suspect a business has taken part in cartel behaviour, such as rigging contracts.

Its regional research found only 44% knew that fixing prices could lead to imprisonment, and nearly half either didn’t know or thought it was legal to discuss prices with competing bidders when quoting for new work. 63% didn’t know or thought that dividing up and sharing customers with rivals was legal.

CMA’s Jason Freeman said non-competitive deals with competitors was unfair to customers.

“It’s important that businesses in the east take the time to understand what the law says and how to comply – the repercussions of falling foul are just not worth the risk,” he said.

The campaign is targeting industries including construction, manufacturing, recruitment, estate agents and property management and maintenance, which have been identified as particularly susceptible to cartels.

Previous campaigns have driven a 30% rise in the number of tip-offs to the CMA’s cartels hotline.

Since April 2015 the campaign has issued more than £155m in fines following investigations into anti-competitive practices and it is currently investigating 15 cases including in construction services, roofing materials and estate agency.

Businesses found to have been involved in illegal cartels can be fined up to 10% of their annual turnover. Individuals can face up to five years in prison and directors can be disqualified from holding director positions for up to 15 years.

Search hundreds of local jobs at Jobs24

A 16-year-old suffered life-threatening injuries after being stabbed in the car park of a McDonald’s restaurant in Ipswich during a violent fight in front of shocked members of the public, it has been alleged.

Christmas has arrived in the Ipswich high street with festive displays in many windows - we find out what is selling fast and how sales are comparing to last year.

It is a swanky diner which brings a touch of American culture to the streets of Ipswich.

An ex-Ipswich Town player who worked with asbestos before becoming a professional footballer died of industrial disease, an inquest heard.

An Ipswich man who drove with no headlights after drinking eight cans of lager at a barbecue has been handed a suspended jail sentence.

Have you started writing your Christmas cards and packing up parcels yet, or haven’t you even started to think about it yet? Either way, you won’t want to miss the last posting dates.

Fears have been raised that targeting drug dealing hotspots in Ipswich might simply be moving the problem onto different streets and neighbourhoods.

Black Friday bargains are already appearing in shops and online - but how can you avoid falling for scams and bogus offers

Author and screenwriter Anthony Horowitz visited Woodbridge to give a talk at Seckford Hall about his life and works. We caught up with him to talk about his home in Orford, his love for Suffolk and how he plans to spend eternity in the county.

Ipswich Citizens Advice revealed the shocking case of the mother, who had depression and anxiety after giving birth, in a bid to call for new laws to crack down on debt collectors who flout the rules.

Show Job Lists

Most read

Topic pages

Newsletter Sign Up

Ipswich Star daily newsletter
Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

MyDate24 MyPhotos24