Education, communication, enforcement and transparency needed
Similar issues in Canada. Obvious violations of Canada's anti-combine laws are seen everywhere but are often most noticeable with New Canadian business owners.
That may not be the case in the UK but in Canada about 20% of Canadians were born elsewhere and another 20% of Canadians are their children. That is a large chunk of our population whose culture and business practices originate outside of Canada.
New and Non-Canadians have more programs and incentives to encourage them to buy and create small businesses and as a result own a large percentage of our industry and businesses. The result are stereotypes but that does not change the facts. 20% of Canadians not born in Canada, 20% with a parent not born in Canada and 20% from Quebec.
With so many different cultures running our businesses we cannot assume a common understanding of the many laws involved. Each will operate according to their own ideas, how else could they operate?
In such an environment what is enforced decides what the real laws and business culture will be. This was made clear to me when I successfully pointed out some of the illegal business practices being used by a friends family business.
In that case the New Canadian was adamant they were breaking no laws until I proved otherwise by finding a copy of the acts and some rulings on the practices they were using. His response was to point out that Canada is a fool, they wouldn't change a thing. I was a little set back but now see his point.
From his POV if Canada was taking those laws seriously there would be regular inspections by government agents and regular enforcement. In his culture and home country the government does just that. His home country does not expect citizens to follow the law just because it is the right thing to do (which was/is the case in Canada).
From his POV it is foolish to think citizens will generally follow laws just because the rulers said so. Citizens follow laws because they are actively enforced, because governments actively looks for violations and make punishment public when they do find violations.
To him, and maybe most people around the world, the assumption that citizens are willingly following laws is foolish. The under enforcement that results from such thinking would allow the mice to play, so to speak, and the mice should not apologize for that.
He pointed out that his home country has many more laws than Canada but the only ones of concern are those that are enforced and only the very expensive really matter.
Publicizing charges, identifying those companies and officers who are convicted is political so we rarely hear about them.
Other enforcement agencies rarely make any public announcements about enforcement or punishment. Business owners cannot easily look to enforcement and it's results to determine what is or isn't acceptable.
For those that doubt I'd suggest searching "Canada white-collar crime haven".
Canada has some of the worlds best laws, particularly when it comes to business, but they mean nothing if not enforced and the results made public. That they are not enforced is IMO an ongoing failure of our democratic systems. Current practices are dangerously insidious hiding behind a non-transparent bureaucracy. The result is a rotting of our foundations and may be hastening an "uncontrolled restructuring".
Seems to me the CMA are on the right track, as long as fair and equal enforcement with the results being made public is part of their ongoing campaign. I'll not hold my breath or comments waiting for that but hey they might lead the free world when it comes to ensuring business act in the interest of citizens, they might save us all. Thumbs up for that possibility. .