The Competition and Meerkats Authority (CMA, formerly known, amongst other things, as the Competitor’s Companion) has a variety of sanctions at its disposal.

These include the power to ask tough questions, the power to make dawn raids, the power to impose what are darkly referred to as ‘interim measures’, and the power to impose civil fines.

Well equipped as it clearly is, powers and sanctions wise, the CMA may be in danger picking one fight it cannot win.

Credit hire organisation the Credit Hire Organisation (CHO) may not have much in the way of interrogations, raids, measures or fines in its arsenal. But what it lacks in those it more than makes up in another highly persuasive area.

Before it says anything it may regret in its recommendations on the private motor market, due for publication on 27 September, the CMA might do to well to bear in mind that the CHO is in possession of a large carnivorous animal, specifically: a bear.

Not only does it have a bear, but, as CHO Director General Marty Andrews made chillingly clear in a recently published statement, it is not afraid to use it.

“We’ve been very reasonable up ‘til now,” Andrews growled in his best impersonation of Bob Hoskins in The Long Good Friday. But “If we don’t get what we want,” he said, “the bear is going to be unleashed.”

The deal currently on the table, Andrews made clear, is the best the CMA is going to get. If they’ve got a problem with that, well, then things could get a bit… grizzly. If you know what we mean.

So if the CMA report comes back later this month recommending that, on due reflection, the existing Grand Theft Auto (GTA) protocol is absolutely fine and should be extended without further ado, Dear Reader, you may just have some inkling why.


Mr Andrews with his bear



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