§ Mr. Mike Thomas
asked the Secretary of State for Prices and Consumer Protection what discussions he has had with the advertising industry about the further development of advertising controls in the United Kingdom; and if he will make a statement.100W
§ Mr. Hattersley
I met leading members of the industry on 31 January for a full discussion. There was broad agreement that the flexibility of the existing system of self-regulatory control offered the best basis for responding to public opinion and adapting quickly to changing requirements of control; but that certain identified deficiencies in the existing system might best be remedied by the addition of some new statutory powers. I welcomed a suggestion by the industry that a joint working party of industry and Government officials should be set up to consider and to recommend to me how best this reinforcement of the regulation of advertisements should be given effect. I hope that this working party will hold its first meeting in about two weeks and be in a position to make firm proposals by the summer.
We also had a useful exchange of views on the wider social and economic implications of advertising. It was generally agreed that these posed problems of some complexity and I have asked my officials to continue discussions with the Advertising Association and to report back to me their conclusions.