§ Mr. Baker
To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what plans he has to strengthen the arrangements in place to protect consumers from fraudulent claims made in advertisements, with particular reference to the penalties which can be brought to bear on those making such claims; and if he will make a statement. 184W
§ Dr. Howells
I am satisfied that the 1988 Control of Misleading Advertisements Regulations, together with the self-regulatory system operated by the Advertising Standards Authority for advertisements in the non-broadcast media, are effective in controlling misleading advertising in the United Kingdom.
In respect of false or misleading claims more generally, the White Paper "Modern Markets: Confident Consumers" announced that the Government are considering strengthening the Trade Descriptions Act 1968—which applies to both advertisements and on-pack claims—by making misleading claims about services an offence of strict liability, as is already the case for goods, and by introducing new provisions to cover the future supply of services and false or misleading statements made by traders about a consumer's own property—for example the need for remedial work. The Trade Descriptions Act includes criminal penalties.