HC Deb 17 July 1972 vol 841 cc7-8
6. Mr. McCrindle

asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry whether he is satisfied with the control of financial advertisements; and if he will make a statement.

The Minister for Trade (Mr. Michael Noble)

The Trade Descriptions Act, 1968, makes it an offence for any person in the course of business to make knowingly or recklessly in any advertisement of services, which includes financial services, a statement which is false to a material degree. Other statutes impose further regulation on particular types of financial advertising and I am considering the proposals of the Crowther Committee on Consumer Credit for regulation of advertisements of consumer credit.

Mr. McCrindle

Is my right hon. Friend aware of the concern expressed in the Crowther Report about the content of some second mortgage advertisements? Would he give an assurance that if, having studied the matter, he feels that legislation should be brought forward for the protection of house owners, this will be done speedily?

Mr. Noble

I certainly agree with my hon. Friend about the importance of this aspect and we will have it in mind in drafting legislation.

Mr. William Price

Would the Minister care to inquire from the Newspaper Publishers Association why it is that some of the most reputable newspapers accept some of the most dubious advertisements?

Mr. Noble

That goes a little wider than the original question, but, as I said, both the Trade Descriptions Act and the other Acts concerned govern untrue statements which are made knowingly or recklessly.

Mr. Alan Williams

Is the Minister satisfied that there are adequate safeguards for the British public in connection with insurance companies based in the Channel Islands? Did he see the report in The Guardian on 1st July which dealt with the Assured Investment Plan and which threw considerable doubt on the viability of the plans into which many people may have entered? In the circumstances, will he investigate the claims which are being made by those marketing these investment or insurance plans to see whether even a prosecution may be appropriate?

Mr. Noble

I will look at the case mentioned by the hon. Gentleman.

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