Monopolies and Restrictive Practices Commission, 1949-1956
Monopolies Commission, 1956-1973
Subject to 30 year closure unless otherwise stated
Immediate source of acquisition:
from 1994 Monopolies and Mergers Commission
Administrative / biographical background:
The Monopolies and Mergers Commission was a statutory body set up to inquire into and to report on questions relating to specific mergers, monopolies, anti-competitive practice, the performance of public sector bodies, and the regulation of certain privatised industries.
The Monopolies Commission was originally appointed on 1 January 1949 in response to the recommendations of several committees on particular cases of restrictive commercial activity. It was established under the Monopolies and Restrictive Practices (Inquiry and Control) Act 1948 as the Monopolies and Restrictive Practices Commission. Its members were appointed by the president of the Board of Trade. It was reconstituted as the Monopolies Commission on 31 October 1956 by the Restrictive Trade Practices Act 1955, which also set up a Restrictive Practices Court and a registrar of restrictive trading agreements, whose office was established at the Board of Trade in August 1956. The commission was again reconstituted, and its powers extended, by the Monopolies and Mergers Act 1965.
When required by the board it inquired into and reported on the existence of monopoly conditions in the supply and export of specified goods and services, and on mergers or proposed mergers of specified enterprises, and on their effect on the public interest. Practices covered by the Restrictive Practices Court were excluded from its scope. In 1969 oversight of the commission passed to the Department of Employment and Productivity and in 1970 to the Department of Trade and Industry. Under the Fair Trading Act 1973 the commission became, from 1 November 1973, the Monopolies and Mergers Commission, with wider powers to deal with references either from the Office of Fair Trading or from the Department of Trade and Industry.
From 1974 ministerial responsibility passed successively to the Secretary of States for Prices and Consumer Protection, Trade, and Trade and Industry.
In 1999 the Monopolies and Mergers Commission was succeeded by the Competition Commission, an independent public body established by the Competition Act 1998. It replaced the Monopolies and Mergers Commission on 1 April 1999. The Commission conducts in-depth inquiries into mergers, markets and the regulation of the major regulated industries.
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