The UK government has announced that it plans to launch a Digital Markets Unit, which will begin work from April 2021.

The UK Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) recommended the establishment of the Digital Markets Unit, following its market study into digital platforms and advertising. In that study, the CMA found existing regulatory tools were not sufficient to protect competition in digital markets (our thoughts on the study's conclusions can be found here).

The Unit will regulate the behaviour of digital platforms by enforcing a new code of conduct that will apply to platforms that have significant market positions (including those in the publishing sector). It will also draw on the work carried out by the Digital Markets Taskforce - whose report is due later this year

The new Digital Markets Unit will sit within the CMA, but other regulators such as Ofcom and the ICO are expected to be involved.  The Unit is expected to have powers to enforce the code of conduct, although it is not yet clear what these will be.

The government is planning to consult on form and function of the Digital Markets Unit in early 2021 and legislate as soon as possible.