Retail banking sector is failing small firms, regulators find
The UK’s retail banking sector lacks effective competition and is failing to meet the needs of small firms and consumers, according to two joint studies by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) and the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). The CMA has now launched a consultation asking whether an in-depth investigation into the markets for both personal current accounts and business banking should be undertaken. As part of this consultation, the CMA is seeking views on the proposals put forward by several of the main high-street banks to remedy faults in the small business banking sector, as an alternative to a market investigation.
New public sector procurement policy prioritises local food
The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) has published a new standard for public sector food procurement that is expected to create opportunities worth up to £400 million for small British food producers. The standard requires buyers to judge potential suppliers against criteria including how the food is produced, whether it is produced locally, and quality of service and value for money. Central Government has committed to using the new standard for all its food and drink procurement from 2017, and the wider public sector will also be encouraged to adopt it.