HC Deb 23 March 1999 vol 328 c156W
Mr. Boswell

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what preparations are being made by Ofwat in respect of his responsibilities under the Competition Act 1998; what increase in staff is required; and what action is being taken to co-ordinate policy with the Director General of Fair Trading. [77687]

Mr. Meale

[holding answer 22 March 1999]: The Director General of Water Services is currently preparing guidelines on the application of the Competition Act 1998 to the water industry to be published later this year. I understand that he is considering, but has yet to determine, what increase in staff might be required in respect of his new responsibilities. The Office of Water Services (Ofwat) is a member of the Concurrency Working Party (CWP), comprising representatives from the Office of Fair Trading and those regulators having concurrent functions, which is working to ensure a co-ordinated approach to the application of the 1998 Act. Guidelines on the application and enforcement of the Act have been prepared by the CWP and issued by the Director General of Fair Trading (DGFT). In February, the Department of Trade and Industry issued a consultation document "Concurrency: consultation on the possible need and scope for regulations" on the Secretary of State's powers to make regulations for the purpose of co-ordinating the functions exercisable by the DGFT and the regulators.