Navigating the regulatory landscape: The CMA's 2024/25 Annual Plan | Fieldfisher
Skip to main content

Navigating the regulatory landscape: The CMA's 2024/25 Annual Plan


United Kingdom

In this special blog mini-series, Fieldfisher Competition and Regulatory Partner Jessica Gardner will, with the help of competition specialists from her team, take you through key insights relating to the UK's Competition and Markets Authority's (CMA) activities.

In this final edition of the mini-series, Jessica and Solicitor Charlie Smith provide an overview of the CMA's recently published Annual Plan for 2024/25.

CMA's Annual Plan 2024/25

Having undertaken a period of consultation from 11 December 2023 to 29 January 2024, the CMA published its 2024/25 Annual Plan on 14 March 2024 ("the Plan").

As with previous years, the Plan sets out the CMA's purpose, medium-term priorities and its "strategic outcomes", most of which remain unchanged from 2023/24. The key differences lie in the CMA's "Areas of Focus" for 2024/25, that is, the tools and actions that the CMA will deploy to help it meet its strategic outcomes.

Strategic Outcome 1 – People can be confident they are getting great choices and fair deals

Within the "people" strategic outcome, key changes include:

  • Placing a greater emphasis on travel and accommodation within the CMA's aim of protecting consumers in areas of "essential spending". The CMA seeks to build on the recent work it has undertaken in the road fuels and housebuilding sectors and has committed to publish updated guidance to assist landlords, tenants and letting agents to understand their rights and obligations.
  • Preparing to apply the consumer enforcement powers that will be provided to the CMA by the Digital Markets, Competition and Consumers ("DMCC") Bill.
  • Shifting its focus in the UK labour markets from "identifying" to "tackling" issues.

Strategic Outcome 2 – Competitive, fair-dealing businesses can innovate and thrive

Within the "business" strategic outcome, key changes include:

  • Ensuring that innovating businesses will be able to access the "cloud services" digital market. The CMA emphasises the significance of its work in the cloud services market, which reflects the in-depth market investigation that the CMA has recently commenced into public cloud infrastructure services.
  • Encouraging effective competition and consumer protection in the development and deployment of AI foundation models. This builds on the AI foundation models initial review that the CMA undertook in 2023.

Strategic Outcome 3 – The whole UK economy can grow productively and sustainably

Within the "economy" strategic outcome, changes include:

  • Broadening the CMA's green claims work as part of its commitment to sustainable products and services. The CMA hopes to build on recent investigations to protect consumers from misleading environmental claims, such as in the green heating and insulation sector.
  • Emphasising the preparations that the CMA is making for the new powers it will receive under the DMCC Bill (as with the "people" focus area). In the Plan, the CMA notes that these powers will mark a "step-change" in its work and commits to being fully ready to "make full use of" the powers once they have been granted.

Our comment

The Plan makes clear that continuing with preparations in advance of the DMCC Bill remains high on the CMA's agenda, along with a focus on building its green claims work and supporting consumers in areas of essential spending.

However, whilst the Plan provides a useful indicator of how the CMA will focus its resource in the coming year, it should not be taken as a finite list, with the CMA acknowledging that it will remain "flexible in responding to unforeseen developments during the course of the year".

This blog marks the end of this particular mini-series, but we will of course continue to publish on our website further insights on key Competition issues as developments arise.

You can find our first edition of this mini-series, in which we made some predictions for the CMA's enforcement agenda in 2024, here. The second edition, which looked at the powers of the CMA to search homes, is here. Our third edition, which looked at the CMA's recently published Housebuilding Report, is here.

If you would like to discuss any of the issues raised in this blog, please get in touch with our team.