Follows major probe into bid-rigging in demolition sector

Would-be whistleblowers are to be offered stronger incentives to come forward about unlawful cartel activity as the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) seeks to strengthen its enforcement work. 

The regulator is now offering a reward of up to £250,000 – up from £100,000 – to people who tell them about unlawful activity they have witnessed. 

Earlier this year, 10 demolition firms were fined a total of close to £60m for cartel activity after a years-long probe by the CMA. 


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The CMA has been involved in a high-profile investigation into the demolition sector of the construction industry

Four directors were also banned for their involvement in the bid-rigging scandal, although one has since been partially successful in appealing the ban

As well as a financial reward, the CMA’s ‘cheating or competing’ campaign offers the protection of anonymity to those who come forward, as well as advice for how to spot, report and deter illegal practices. 

Businesses which are found to have been involved in illegal cartels can be fined up to 10% of their annual turnover, individuals directly involved can face up to five years in prison and company directors can be disqualified from holding director positions for up to 15 years. 

The reward is separate from the CMA’s leniency programme where a business or an individual that has participated in a cartel may escape sanctions if they come forward with information about the cartel, provided certain conditions are met. 

Michael Grenfell, executive director of enforcement at the CMA, said: “Cartels can cause serious damage to their customers, whether businesses or individual people, weakening price competitiveness – a particular concern at a time of cost-of-living pressures.  

“The CMA’s job is to stamp out illegal cartels but because cartels are generally conducted in secret, we need to encourage people to come forward and provide us with the information we need to crack down on cartels and protect people and businesses from the harm they cause.   

“For these reasons, we are today increasing the maximum financial reward for informants and whistle-blowers who provide us with valuable information about cartels so that we can take action.”