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Lords to quiz two Government Ministers about online platforms

Next week, on Monday 14 December, a Lords Committee investigating online platforms will take evidence from two Government Minsters.

Ed Vaizey MP, Minister for the Digital Economy and Minister of State, and Baroness Neville-Rolfe, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State and Minister for Intellectual Property, both at the Department for Culture, Media and Sport and the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, will be giving evidence.

The House of Lords EU Internal Market Sub-Committee is holding an inquiry into online platforms, their growing influence and the current European Commission consultation.

The two Ministers will be quizzed on a variety of issues such as whether the dominance of these largest platforms should be tackled with competition regulations, what the Government is doing in terms of policy to encourage digital tech start-ups, and whether online giants are correctly obeying tax rules.

Specific questions which the Committee will put to the witnesses could include:

  • Are you concerned that Google has vertically integrated a range of services into its search function, and given these priority over rival services, seemingly at the expense of competition?
  • What are your views about the disparity in regulation between Uber and black cabs? Is it fair?
  • Do you view parity clauses, such as those used by online travel agents, as an abuse of an already dominant position?
  • How easily can complainants of unfair practice seek redress?
  • Should consumers be able to switch between platforms more easily?
  • What policies does the government have to encourage digital tech start-ups and companies to grow?
  • The diverted profits tax, the so-called Google tax, was implemented to prevent online giants diverting profits away from the UK - is it working?

The evidence session will take place from 5.15pm, on Monday 14 December in Committee Room 2 of the House of Lords.

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