HC Deb 27 June 1996 vol 280 c210W
Mr. David Shaw

To ask the Secretary of State for National Heritage what further consideration she has given to ensuring that broadcasters have the opportunity to offer home shopping features on analogue terrestrial television. [35201]

Mr. Sproat

Following discussion of this issue during the Committee stage of the Broadcasting Bill, my officials have explored the way forward with home shopping interests and the Independent Television Commission. In the light of those discussions, I believe that we can meet the concerns expressed in Committee by executive action rather than a new clause. I am confident that at its July meeting the ITC will agree to amend its rules on advertising breaks to allow extended home shopping segments in the night hours on terrestrial television channels.

For the future, the ITC has also said that it will review its rules on advertising breaks as a whole in the light of the final outcome of current negotiations for a revised EU directive and the allocation of airtime available to home shopping will form a part of this review. Should home shopping become established on the terrestrial channels within existing airtime allocations for advertising on these channels, the experience accumulated will also be relevant to decisions about how policy might evolve in the future, and the possibility of further change to ITC rules is not excluded.