Capitalism for the Little Guy

Dominic Raab MP on 10 ways to strengthen competition and extend consumer clout

Dominic Raab MP sets out ten ways in which more competition can widen consumer choice and reduce costs in five key sectors: energy, water, retail banking, schools and health in Capitalism for the Little Guy: 10 ways to extend competition and strengthen consumer clout published by the Centre for Policy Studies.

In energy, the Government should:

•             phase out state-backed subsidies for renewable energy technologies, reducing energy bills for businesses and homes;

•             support the development of a secure web-based account switching facility and encourage energy companies to sign up to the online account switching facility through a temporary tax break.

In the water industry, the Government should:

•             require the legal separation of the retail and supply arms of the water companies, paving the way for the extension of retail competition in both the non-household and household sectors.

In retail banking, the Government should:

•             require banks to provide retail customers with clear detail about all charges and require portable accounts to facilitate account switching by customers;

•             overhaul the process of licensing new retail banks;

•             give the Financial Conduct Authority a specific mandate to promote competition.

In education, the Government should lift the bar on profit-making companies running academies and free schools, subject to:

•             a minimum of 50% of profits being reinvested into the school;

•             a requirement that dividends only be paid if certain educational performance standards are met; and,

•             a bar on the sale for commercial gain of school assets purchased with public money.

In health, the Government should:

•             level the playing field between public and private sector service providers, in recognition of the high extra costs private providers face because of pension liabilities, corporation tax and VAT.

Tim Knox, Director of the Centre for Policy Studies, comments:

“Professor Lionel Robbins famously referred to the market as a “perpetual referendum” in which all vote pound by pound, day by day, between countless goods and services produced by unnumbered suppliers around the world, all competing in quality and price to satisfy their customers. But without vigorous competition between suppliers, the benefit of this daily referendum is blunted. That is why these ten simple steps could do so much both for consumers’ wallets and purses but also for economic growth.”

Media Impact

Dominic Raab MP - Tuesday, 19th February, 2013