Byers to tackle competition restrictions

Stephen Byers said consultation would now begin on the restrictions on competition, identified by the Office of Fair Trading report, published yesterday.

The report attacked the 50% rule that a majority of partners in an accountancy firm have to be audit qualified for the firm to undertake a statutory audit.

However, the report concluded that tackling the restriction would probably require a change in European as well as UK legislation.

Byers said: ‘The government agrees that the entitlement to exclusion from the provision of the Competition Act should be removed and that the professions should be fully subject to competition law.’

Among the many issues the consultation will address, will be existing rules among the professions that block the creation of multi-disciplinary practices.

Accountants have long wanted MDPs, but lawyers have consistently raised objections.

The OFT report also said rules on cold calling and comparative fee advertising for accountants presented evidence that competition may be restricted.


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