Competition watchdog joins government moves to Canary Wharf

Up to 650 staff from non-ministerial department set to move to HQ based near new government hub


By Richard Johnstone

21 Aug 2018

Canary Wharf. Photo: PA

The Competition and Markets Authority has revealed plans to relocate its headquarters from Holborn in central London to Canary Wharf in a move that further confirms the east London district as a growing home for civil servants.

The CMA will lease space in the refurbished Cabot building from September next year in a new 15-year lease, which will also provide the watchdog with space to expand following the UK’s exit from the European Union.

The new base is located near the government hub being established in Canary Wharf. The CMA told Civil Service World that much of the space at the hub, at 10 South Colonnade, had already been allocated, so the Cabot building provided the best option in terms of both space and price. The move is expected to save the CMA around 45% in average rent, with up to 650 staff expected to make the move.


“This move will provide us with the facilities to best serve consumers and businesses across the UK,” said CMA’s chief executive Andrea Coscelli.

“Our new location will provide our staff with the space to work effectively and efficiently, and continue to engage appropriately with the businesses, politicians and consumer groups so vital to our work.”

The CMA is also expanding its presence in Scotland, with the aim to grow its Edinburgh contingent initially by around 25-30 employees, and potentially more, as the UK’s exit from the European Union means the CMA will take on increased responsibilities for merger reviews and investigations into cartels and other anti-competitive behaviours that are currently undertaken in Brussels.

This is the latest government body to confirm its intention to move to Canary Wharf, with HM Revenue and Customs, the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency and the Pensions Ombudsman already confirmed as tenants for the new government hub in the financial district. The Cabinet Office has said that around 5,700 full-time civil and public servants from offices in Whitehall will move to the hub, while the revised Government Estates Strategy has also pledged to relocate civil service posts around the country to boost local growth.

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