Livingstone steps in on OFT row

The Mayor of London has made his first public intervention in the
ongoing row over magazine distribution, backing publishers who
protested at the Office of Fair Trading this morning.

Livingstone said the OFT’s thinking on the issue was a “direct threat”
to the diversity of magazines available to readers in the capital. The
industry watchdog is likely to make its final pronouncements on the
future of the supply chain by the end of the month, having spent months
examining arguments for and against the current system.

from publishers, retailers and other concerned organisations delivered
hard copies of their arguments to the OFT by hand this morning and
urged members of the competition law team to look again at their

The OFT has so far said it believes that the current
agreements governing magazine distribution are anti-competitive and
that retailers should be free to seek better deals.

have warned this could lead to the collapse of the current supply
chain, with small newsagents and niche magazines going out of business.

an official statement released after the protests, Livingstone said:
“These proposals are a direct threat to all independent and small

“At the moment Londoners get a phenomenal choice of
magazines in their local newsagents. “If these proposals go ahead this
diversity of choice will be lost.

“The OFT’s ruling will put even more
pressure on local independent newsagents of which there are over 4,000
in London, and at least 1,000 of these would be affected.”

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