Newsagents are urging the government to bring UK competition law into line with the rest of Europe.

As the consultation period for the review of the 1998 Competition Act draws to a close, the National Federation of Retail Newsagents has written to the DTI calling for all vertical agreements, such as those between wholesalers and publishers, to be subject to competition law in the same way as they are on the continent.

The anomaly has to be addressed, said NFRN president David Kirwin. “Once the exclusion is withdrawn agreements within a sector should be able to stand up to scrutiny.

“If there’s nothing wrong with the agreements then the parties have nothing to fear from this reform.

“There is no justification for retaining the block exemption.”