The Office of Fair Trading has welcomed the news from the Coalition government that it is to be merged with the Competition Commission.
The news was announced this morning as part of the government's "bonfire of the quangos", which announced the abolition of 192 quangos, the reform of 171 and the merger of 118.
The Department of Business, Innovation and Skills said that the merger of the CC with the OFT would help "strengthen" Britain's competition regime by improving efficiency.
The new body will be responsible for merger regulation, market investigations, cartel and antitrust cases.
Vince Cable, the Business Secretary, said, "Consumers are represented by a bewildering array of public, private and voluntary bodies, which often duplicate efforts to inform, educate and advise consumers of their rights. Our aim is to create a simpler structure with a single competition authority and a stronger role for front-line consumer services."
John Fingleton, CEO of the Office of Fair Trading, said, "We welcome today's announcement on the streamlining of the competition and consumer regimes. We have advocated the merger of the Competition Commission with the OFT for some time. With the right design, a single competition and markets authority can deliver better, faster results for consumers and the economy, and greater consistency for businesses.
"Today's proposals raise important questions about how local and national enforcement of consumer law should best be structured to ensure markets work well for consumers. With a growing proportion of household goods and services purchased from national or global companies, and increasing online sales, the details will need to be carefully thought through in the light of the issues, risks and evidence. We will actively contribute to this debate in the planned consultation.
"The OFT's and Competition Commission's staff have valuable experience and expertise, and we deliver returns to consumers and UK economic growth far in excess of our cost. Our focus will be on ensuring these skills are preserved and strengthened in the merged body or elsewhere, while continuing to contribute to the revitalisation of the private sector and the future prosperity of the UK."