HC Deb 10 June 2002 vol 386 c1006W
Miss McIntosh

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what criteria she uses to ensure the observance of the fair trading commitment by broadcasters. [57937]

Dr. Howells

The provision of broadcasting services potentially falls within the ambit of the Competition Act 1998 and Fair Trading Acts. Responsibility for considering complaints, and for enforcing the law if necessary, rests with the Office of Fair Trading. In addition, the BBC's commercial activities are subject to its own fair trading commitment, which reflects and in some respects goes beyond the statutory requirements. This is set out in the BBC's published commercial policy guidelines and is monitored by the Board of Governors. An independent review by Professor Richard Whish, published in May 2001, concluded that the fair trading commitment and the guidelines are appropriate to ensure that the BBC does not distort competition in commercial markets and recommended no changes.