Is Ed’s energy freeze lawful?

September 25, 2013

The centrepiece of Ed Miliband’s speech to Labour’s conference yesterday was this: If we win the election 2015 the next Labour government will freeze gas and electricity prices until the start of 2017. Your bills will not rise. It will benefit millions of families and millions of businesses. Since then there’s been some question whether […]

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EU law and the Health and Social Care Bill

September 1, 2011

And now for something completely different. The Health and Social Care Bill is approaching report stage in the House of Commons, and the campaign group 38 Degrees has obtained legal advice about it from Stephen Cragg and Rebecca Haynes. Legal advice on the Health and Social Care Bill The advice covers a number of things, but I’m most […]

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An orgy of state aid

October 8, 2008

I’m sorry you’ve not heard from me for a week: it’s been a busy time. A busy time, too, for finance ministers, central bankers and treasury officials all over the western world as country after country started to break ranks and support its banks, the Irish taking the lead in Europe with a promise by […]

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Head of Legal "wrong" shock

September 23, 2008

I know it’s scarcely credible, but I was wrong in my guess that the government would legislate to avoid competition procedures entirely in the LLoyds TSB-HBOS merger: an anonymous commenter here, and Angelo Basu at ConservativeHome’s CentreRight blog, were right in thinking the government intends to extend the public interest grounds on which ministers can […]

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The Lloyds TSB HBOS merger

September 18, 2008

I’ve been wondering how, legally, the government will exempt the Lloyds TSB-HBOS merger from competition law; some of the reports about this are understandably fairly vague. So long as both Lloyds TSB and HBOS receive over two thirds of their EU turnover within the UK – turnover in North America and Asia doesn’t count, note […]

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Commission launches Northern Rock state aid investigation

April 2, 2008

The European Commission has decided to investigate the UK’s state aid to Northern Rock. No surprise, this: such a massive rescue of a bank was bound to be looked into fully. And it seems to me inconceivable that the Commission will not, ultimately, give clearance in principle, even if it requires minor adjustments to the […]

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Tesco and the price of booze

February 21, 2008

This morning while struggling to beat off my cold enough to get out of bed at least, I listened to a discussion on BBC Radio 4’sToday programme about what action, if any, can be taken to prevent supermarkets selling booze as cheaply as they do – this is needed, some think, to tackle binge-drinking, although […]

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Ryanair, Aer Lingus and the European Commission

December 21, 2006

Ryanair is expressing disappointment about the Commission’s decision to launch a detailed investigation into its proposed takeover of Aer Lingus – but surely it can’t be surprised. The two airlines are each other’s major competitor on routes from Ireland to the rest of Europe – so unless you see the whole of Europe as […]

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