HC Deb 30 April 1969 vol 782 cc1418-9
21. Mr. R. C. Mitchell

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he will seek powers to control the door-to-door delivery of advertising material.

Mrs. Gwyneth Dunwoody

No, Sir. We are not aware of any grounds which would justify our doing so.

Mr. Mitchell

Will the Minister consult the police in this matter? Is she aware that many householders who go on holiday comply with police requests to cancel milk and newspapers and make arrangements with the Post Office, and so on, but come back to find their letter boxes stuffed with unwanted advertising material, revealing to everyone that the house is empty and thereby creating a potential danger of house-breaking?

Mrs. Dunwoody

I am sympathetic to the difficulties that people encounter in making their homes safe, but the difficulty is that to bring this sort of restriction in would also affect charitable organisations which traditionally put notices of jumble sales through letter boxes.

Mr. Scott-Hopkins

Does the hon. Lady agree that the door-to-door salesman situation is beginning to get out of control, and that too many people can do this, with consequent danger? Will she not institute an inquiry to see what can be done and bring about some sort of order by defining who can stand on a doorstep with impunity and talk to a householder?

Mrs. Dunwoody

I am aware of the hon. Member's interest in this matter. The question of door-to-door salesmen, as opposed to the distribution of material, is a highly complex one. It would be wrong to rush into making any direction without any evidence.