HC Deb 05 June 1972 vol 838 c4
2. Mr. Greville Janner

asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry whether he will order an inquiry into the extent of misleading advertising for alleged slimming aids.

The Minister for Trade (Mr. Michael Noble)

No, Sir. If misleading advertisements are being published the need is to suppress them rather than to count them.

Mr. Janner

Is the Minister aware of the recent report prepared by Which? showing the scandalously misleading way in which some slimming aids and remedies are being advertised? Is it not correct that there are many people who are overweight and badly need medical attention, and does he not agree that misleading advertisements about slimming should not be allowed?

Mr. Noble

Yes, I have read the article to which the hon. Gentleman referred. The right way to deal with the problemis for the British Code of Advertising Practice to be correctly applied.

Mr. Alan Williams

Could the hon. Gentleman say whether any study is being undertaken in his Department into to need for a stronger watchdog body to supervise advertising? Does he realise that 99 per cent. of the British public do not know of the existence of the Advertising Standards Association? Is he further aware that it is just as well they do not know of its existence because this association has a derisory budget with which to try to control the standards of advertising amounting to over £1,000 million?

Mr. Noble

The best answer I can give is to say that the Trade Descriptions Act and other legislation are adequate to deal with advertising on this subject which is false to a material degree.

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