HC Deb 07 August 1972 vol 842 cc1234-5
9. Mr. Greville Janner

asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry whether he will now take steps to supress misleading advertisements for alleged slimming aids.

Mr. Noble

It is already an offence under the Trade Descriptions Act, 1968, to use a false or misleading trade description in advertisements for goods of this kind.

Mr. Janner

In those circumstances, and having regard to the clear evidence produced by the Consumers Association, may I ask how many prosecutions have been brought in respect of these advertisements?

Mr. Noble

As far as I know, none, but the local weights and measures authority is under a statutory duty to enforce the Act and has all the necessary powers of inquiry.

Mr. Edward Taylor

Does my right hon. Friend agree that even if there were prosecutions, individuals who pay cash for these so-called aids find great difficulty in getting redress for their grievances and have to go through the civil courts? Cannot a better way be found for people who are taken in by these misleading advertisements to get redress?

Mr. Noble

In many respects I agree with my hon. Friend, but the Advertising Standards Authority is well aware of this problem and is hoping shortly to be ready with a new publication about it. Slimming advertisements vary enormously, from taking exercise to eating less and every conceivable method in between. It would be a good thing to have a proper code of advertising practice and for the newspapers to accept it.

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