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Advertising

Volume 410: debated on Monday 18 August 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what further measures she is planning to prevent the publication of misleading advertising; and if she will list those advertisers issued with court orders in each year since 2000 to prevent the continued publication of misleading advertising. [129937]

Non-broadcast advertising is controlled mainly by self-regulation under which the Advertising Standards Authority is responsible for ensuring compliance with the British Code of Advertising, Sales Promotion and Direct Marketing. Providing legislative backing to the Code is the Control of Misleading Advertising Regulations 1988, which empowers the Office of Fair Trading to investigate complaints about misleading advertisements, and where necessary, to seek injunctions against further publication. OFT also have powers under the Enterprise Act (previously under the Stop Now Orders (EC Directive) Regulations 2001) to take action against misleading advertising that harms the collective interests of consumers. These powers are shared by Trading Standards Services. I have no plans to introduce any further measures in relation to misleading advertising.During the period 2002–03, OFT obtained written assurances/undertakings in 25 cases. OFT obtained no Court Orders in 2000 or 2001. Court Orders obtained during 2002–03 were as follows:reports are very impressive. We are seeing substantial improvements in the productivity of companies that are taking advantage of its in-depth consultancy service.