HC Deb 17 July 1973 vol 860 cc238-9
8. Mr. Palmer

asked the Secretary or State for Social Services if Circular 36/71 issued by his Department stating that the Family Planning Act draws no distinction in the giving of contraceptive advice between the married and the unmarried has been supplied to transport undertakings accepting public display advertisements from approved clinics.

Sir K. Joseph

Transport undertakings do not feature on my Department's distribution list for circulars such as the one mentioned by the hon. Member, which was sent to county councils and county boroughs in England, to London boroughs, the Common Council of the City of London and the Greater London Council.

Mr. Palmer

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that in Bristol British Transport Advertising will not accept advertisements from Brook Advisory Centres, a highly reputable body, specifying contraceptive advice to the unmarried? Have there not been similar experiences in Birmingham and London? Will the right hon. Gentleman send a copy of his circular to this nationalised organisation drawing attention to the Government's policy of non-discrimination?

Sir K. Joseph

Advertising on public transport is a matter for the discretion of the undertaking involved. I expect that those concerned will read this exchange.

Mrs. Renée Short

Will the right hon. Gentleman consider contacting the transport authorities and in doing so will he be sure not to miss out the West Midlands authority, which has also refused to display advertisements about family planning clinics or services? Is he aware that it has a weird idea that this would offend the general public, which is surely nonsense? Will he do what he can to see that everyone has the advice which he has to give them?

Sir K. Joseph

No. I produce almost a surfeit of advice to those responsible for carrying out public policy and I must leave the responsibility here to those concerned.