HC Deb 12 June 1989 vol 154 cc548-9
18. Mr. Michael Brown

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how much his Department is spending on drink-drive advertising in the current year.

Mr. Peter Bottomley

About £2 million is being spent on new television commercials, air time, new publicity materials, and support for local road safety officer campaigns. That relatively small sum is multiplied many times by the coverage of the subject in the media, including thoughful television coverage, such as the recent BBC "Horizon" programme, and by reporting of drink-drive cases. The campaign is being heavily supported by material produced by the Brewers Society, by individual brewers and by the club movement.

Mr. Brown

Does my hon. Friend agree that that is a vast amount of public money? While I am sure that we would all agree that that is absolutely necessary, does he agree that it is hardly logical? Surely the media in their news bulletins should give as much attention to lives lost through drink-driving as they do to any rail or aeroplane disaster.

Mr. Bottomley

It is true that, if between 800 and 900 people lost their lives in the air, at sea or on the railways, the media would be concentrating all the time on why and how that happened. If I had had the courage I would have announced this morning that no public money was to be spent on advertising, because then every television programme and newspaper would have to be explaining why drink-driving is so dangerous. I have not such courage.