Around 1,400 responses have been received to the Department’s consultation on this subject.
I am sure that my hon. Friend would agree that product placement is needed. Indeed, there is cross-party support for product placement, which provides an important revenue stream to ensure that we can have political programmes in our regions. However, would he agree that we need a European standard, because at the moment, we have children watching films from America that are uncensored in any way for product placement?
Indeed. The hon. Gentleman wisely helps me along from the Opposition Front Bench. However, many of the consultation responses are about ensuring that we put in place the right safeguards to protect children, in both the programming and the product categories that we allow.
The British Medical Association has said of product placement:
“Studies show that children are particularly susceptible to embedded brand messages and these operate at a subconscious level.”
We still await the Government’s response to the review launched last November, but can the Minister clarify what safeguards have been considered in the event of the status quo being retained?
The consultation, which closed a couple of weeks ago, mainly concerned itself with the programme categories that might be excluded—children’s programming is already excluded under the European directive—but it also looked at whether we should include family entertainment or other programming that children might watch, even though it might not be aimed at them, and whether we should include product categories, such as alcohol or foods that are high in fat, sugar or salt.