Competition and Markets Authority – provisional conclusions – updated 17th August

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has issued provisional conclusions as part of its in-depth market investigation into funeral services. On 17th August they published appendices to support their provisional conclusions. Further details can be read here.

The coronavirus has had an impact on the investigation and possible rememdies. The CMA has commented:

‘This combination of circumstances highlights a serious dilemma. On the one hand, it is clear that the funerals sector is not working well and that reforms will be needed. On the other hand, the pandemic has created insurmountable obstacles to some of the solutions needed to design and implement far-reaching reform of the sector at this stage.’

The CMA’s provisional conclusions therefore have 3 elements:

  • Setting out clearly and fully in today’s provisional report the problems that the CMA has identified in its investigation.
  • Identifying the kind of remedies most likely to address these problems, including the introduction of price controls, whilst recognising that coronavirus inevitably means that some of these cannot be designed and implemented in the short term.
  • Implementing a set of practical and effective steps that can be taken immediately in order to protect people, such as requiring funeral directors and crematoria to be transparent in their pricing.

A summary of the Provisional Decisions report can be read here.

The full Provisional Decisions report can be read here.