Businesses in London are no longer welcome to set-up without a £1,000 investment.
That’s the latest ruling from the Competition and Markets Authority, which has come as a blow to London businesses who had been using the city as a hub for the manufacture of their products.
The regulator, which is currently hearing evidence on the subject, ruled that businesses could no longer operate without a minimum deposit of £5 and that businesses were no longer entitled to free goods and services.
Businesses must now provide a “good and service” deposit of at least £5 before they can open a branch or a sales outlet, and they can’t accept more than £1m of loans from an investment company.
However, the CMA is still taking evidence on whether the current rules are appropriate for the London market, and it’s understood that the regulator is considering a number of proposals.
One proposed change would see firms that offer their products online and via social media be able to use the capital’s “internet services” to set the price for goods and then sell the goods for more than the original cost.
This could lead to companies offering products online for as little as a few hundred pounds.
Other proposals include that businesses have to submit to the CBA a list of goods they sell to cover all costs.
Under the current regulation, it would be illegal for an online retailer to offer a service for less than £5 per unit and that service could not be cheaper than the full price of the product.
This would make it illegal for a company to offer services at a discount of £3 or less, and for an outlet to charge £5 for its products.
Another proposal would see retailers and businesses have a “fair and reasonable” price for products, but that would only apply to goods that they actually offer.
The CMA has also asked the government to “reconsider the application of the rule that businesses can only accept loans from a private investment company”.
It’s understood this could be because the CPA is concerned that lenders would not take on businesses that have no ability to pay the full costs of their operations, or could not afford to buy back their assets.
While the regulator says it will continue to hear from businesses, it is expected to rule on these issues next month.
More from TechRadars: The CBA is expected next month to rule that the existing rules are too strict, and that the current regulations for businesses are too restrictive, according to a report from The Independent.
CBA rules in London ‘too restrictive’A spokesman for the CTA said the regulator’s proposals “are not likely to be implemented by the government”.
“The current regulations apply to all businesses operating in the City of London and do not require the inclusion of a specific provision for financial services,” the spokesman said.
“This is consistent with the CAA’s recent guidance to business on financial inclusion and the need for a clear and flexible approach to ensuring businesses have access to the capital markets.”
The new rules will come into effect from September, but businesses are still required to comply with the current legislation.