HC Deb 26 May 2004 vol 421 cc1676-7W
Jim Dowd

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what meetings she has had with independent and small retailers or their representatives to discuss the implications of consolidation in the convenience market. [175762]

Mr. Sutcliffe

My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State is aware of the concerns of independent and small format retailers about consolidation in the convenience sector. However, the independent competition authorities are responsible under the Enterprise Act 2002 for decision-making in merger cases against an explicit competition test, and parties with concerns about the effects of mergers in this sector are encouraged to contact the Office of Fair Trading to put forward their views. Ministers have no role in this process, and my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State has not, therefore, met with those in the convenience sector to discuss any concerns.