SMF and JRF conference on ‘Fair consumer markets for all’

The Social Market Foundation and Joseph Rowntree Foundation conference on ‘Fair consumer markets for all’ 

The Social Market Foundation is partnered with the Joseph Rowntree Foundation to investigate how competitive markets can work fairly for all consumers. This joint SMF and JRF conference looked at how all stakeholders can ensure markets work for consumers, particularly those with less economic capital.

The questions of how markets can work for all consumers, how the poverty premium can be addressed and eradicated, and how markets such as energy might be regulated to ensure a better deal for all consumers – including the least well off – are pressing. Addressing them is vital to ensure markets function for those buying and accessing goods and services.

The conference seeks to unite key stakeholders, bringing politicians from different political parties together with academics, experts, regulators, charities, consumer groups and businesses to discuss, and build consensus, around this timely and important subject.

An overview of sessions is below.

11.45-12.15 – Welcome refreshments and registration             

12.15-13.00 – Panel 1: The fairness of UK consumer markets

Chair – James Kirkup, Director, SMF
This panel will review relevant government policy, assess the overall fairness of markets, and identify key areas of concern such as the ‘poverty premium’.

Panellists include: Kevin Hollinrake MP, Chair, APPG on Poverty; Ben Page, Chief Executive, Ipsos MORI; Matthew Upton, Head of Policy for Consumer and Public Services, Citizens Advice; Dr Xeni Dassiou, Director, Centre for Competition & Regulatory Policy, City University

13.00-13.40 – Keynote – Tom Tugendhat MP


14.05-14.50 – Panel 2: The regulation of markets, and challenges and benefits of doing so

Chair – Nigel Keohane, Research Director, SMF
The panel will discuss the effectiveness of regulation in markets, and what effect regulation can have in making markets more or less fair, robust and competitive.

Panellists include:  Steve McCabe MP, Member of Parliament for Birmingham, Selly Oak; Daniel Gordon, Senior Director, Markets, Competition and Markets Authority; Pete Moorey, Head of Campaigns, Which?; Sian Williams, Director of the Financial Health Exchange, Toynbee Hall; Greg Jackson, CEO, Octopus Energy

14.55-15.40 – Panel 3: The poverty premium in the energy market and what more can be done to address it

Chair – Campbell Robb, Chief Executive, Joseph Rowntree Foundation
The panel will analyse the ‘poverty premium’ in the UK’s consumer energy market, its causes, and possible policy solutions.

Panellists include: Angela Smith MP, Member of Parliament for Penistone and StocksbridgeSara Davies, Research Fellow, University of Bristol; Jade Kirk, Head of Customer Service, Robin Hood Energy; Adam Scorer, Chief Executive, National Energy Action

15.40-15.50 – Closing remarks