Tobacco Advertising and Promotion Bill [Lords]

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Yvette Cooper: I can certainly repeat the assurances of Lord Filkin in another place that it is not the aim of the Bill for historic tobacco advertisements or items of intrinsic value that have branding to be caught. Clearly, cases need to be determined on the facts, but the Bill will not stop museums showing historic posters and items or antique shops displaying old packs or memorabilia of obsolete brands. Those items will not be regarded as advertisements or as the promotion of tobacco products. Obviously, at issue would be whether they were historic paraphernalia.

We would not permit tobacco companies to roll out a load of old posters that were 30 years old or reintroduce a new brand and put up what was supposedly an historic display not in a museum, but on a massive billboard outside a school, for example. That is why the issue is whether or not they are advertisements and the context in which they are put, rather than needing to introduce a particular amendment along the lines proposed by the Opposition. We have a common aim to ensure that legitimate, historical artefacts are available for public education and view, but that there are not any unnecessary loopholes in the Bill.

Tim Loughton: I am not entirely sure that that is the reassurance that I wanted. It does not seem to mitigate against companies cornering the market in antique Players or Senior Service cigarette signs. Equally, the amendment would be a sensible addition to the Bill without a downside, whereby such items can be excluded specifically in a museum or in an historic context, rather than erected outside schools. However, that point was argued at length in the other place. I hope that it will be dealt with by regulation and, on that basis, I beg to ask leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Tim Loughton: I beg to move amendment No. 15, in line 4, page 2, line 35, at end insert—

    '(2A) For the avoidance of doubt, in subsection (1)(c) the ''principal market'' is not the United Kingdom where the total number of publications distributed in the United Kingdom (or any part of it) is less than the total number of publications distributed outside the United Kingdom.'.

I regret that this is the last amendment to clause 4 before we move on to other clauses. I hope that it is helpful. It is intended to provide greater definition within the Bill. It makes common sense to include an additional measure under subsection (2) because the definition of ''principal market'' is not clear. It seems again the Minister is happy to leave that to the courts to decide and for large legal bills to be accumulated

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during that process. What about a magazine that has 28 per cent. of its circulation market in the United Kingdom, 24 per cent. in the United States of America, 24 per cent. in Germany and a further 24 per cent. in Australia? Which is the principal market? None of them constitutes the majority of more than 50 per cent., although the UK market may be slightly ahead at the time of other markets overseas.

How does one define the principal market of the Financial Times or Hello! magazine? The continental edition of the Financial Times is published in Frankfurt and circulated widely in the United States. I am reliably informed that Hello! magazine is available in many countries and there is obviously also an English edition.

The clause relates to a grey area and we seek to help by adding a definition. I cannot think of any obvious loopholes that would stem from it—that great loophole bogeyman that the Minister invokes to try to bat down amendments. The amendment is self-explanatory. It is intended to help and improve the Bill, rather than detract from it.

Yvette Cooper: The Bill does not set out a definition of principal market in precise quantified terms for a good reason. The term varies upon the particular circumstances of the case and the number of markets a particular magazine or product has. For example, a publication may have 40 per cent. of its sales in the UK and the remaining 60 per cent. may be spread across 12 or 13 different countries. In those circumstances, hon. Members may rightly think that the principal market of that publication is the UK even though more than 50 per cent. of the sales take place outside the UK. It depends on whether there are two markets—or five, six, seven and so on. The interpretation of what counts as the principal market will vary according to the different nature of the product. That is why it is right not to pin down in the Bill a particular quantification of the principal market, and why it is right for the interpretation to be on a case-by-case basis.

Tim Loughton: We were trying to be helpful. The Minister has given the matter some thought. The problem is a movable feast and we were purely trying to suggest a way of tying it down—I am sure that there are other ways. It is not a die-in-the-ditch issue and, to make progress, I beg to ask leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Question proposed, That the clause stand part of the Bill.

Mr. Ruffley: I rise briefly to ventilate a concern about subsection (3). I wish to make a slightly different point to that made by my Front-Bench colleagues. Subsection (3) states:

    ''The appropriate Minister may provide in regulations that no offence is committed under section 2 in relation to a tobacco advertisement which—

    (a) is in a place or on a website where tobacco products are offered for sale,


    (b) complies with requirements specified in the regulations.''

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I would like more guidance from the Minister about how the regulations will operate and I hope that all hon. Members will applaud the reason for that. The subsection suggests that advertising will be allowed—in supermarket kiosks, for example—but it will be of a limited type. Tobacco products are sold in such places—we all have them in our constituencies. The Minister will have the power to say that, within certain parameters and dimensions, tobacco advertising will be permitted. That is my understanding of subsection (3).

My only concern is that no Member of Parliament wants the law of the land to be drafted ambiguously. Trading standards officers, no doubt doing the job to the best of their ability, will have to fulfil their statutory function of ensuring that advertising around a kiosk is within the narrow parameters and does not go outwith the regulations. I have this terrible vision of them tape measuring how far away from a kiosk advertising might be legitimate.

I say that to be helpful, because I am not sure that the explanatory notes are terribly useful. They say that subsection (3)

    ''covers shops and sales over the internet. In shops, the intention is to allow advertising of the products around the till area, typically on a gantry in a corner shop or in a kiosk in a supermarket, but to ban the advertising material elsewhere on the premises, for example in shop window displays. The Secretary of State will consult on regulations to set out further, detailed conditions''.

The guidance is not that specific and I shall use one example. The word ''gantry'' is used, and the ''Oxford English Dictionary''—I had to check it because I did not know what a gantry was—defines it as a

    ''bridge-like overhead structure with platform supporting equipment such as a crane, signals, lights or cameras.''

A subsidiary definition is

    ''a tall framework supporting a space rocket prior to launching'',

and a third definition is

    ''(in a bar) a collection of inverted bottles with optics for serving measures.''

It rather unhelpfully concludes by saying its origin is

    ''late Middle English (denoting a wooden stand for barrels): probably from dialect''.

I give that definition not to criticise Government drafting, because they will probably get their way on this point, but in the hope that the Minister will flag up the issue when she is advising and participating in the consultation process. If we are not to have pettifogging rules being breached at the margin and armies of council officials, who have better things to do, going round with tape measures and deciding what is a gantry, I urge her to ensure that proper attention is paid during the consultation process to what could become a red tape nightmare. I hope that she will take my comments in the spirit in which they are intended.

Yvette Cooper: Clause 4 sets out an important series of exclusions that ensure the proper facilitation of trade in the tobacco industry and cover issues such as point-of-sale regulations. We believe that some advertising at the point of sale is acceptable, but it is an exclusion from the overall ban and as such will be covered by negative regulations. We will have a full consultation on those regulations in due course and

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there will be plenty of opportunities for hon. Members and affected stakeholders to put their views forward.

Obviously, we do not want overly bureaucratic regulations. Their purpose will be to ensure that the ban on advertising is not undermined by allowing advertising at the point of sale that gives people information on products and may include some advertising that is currently in place. It is important that it is properly regulated, which is why regulations will be consulted on in due course.

Question put and agreed to.

Clause 4 ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Clause 5

Advertising: defences

5.45 pm

Mr. Ruffley: I beg to move amendment No. 23, in page 3, line 1, leave out

    ', and had no reason to suspect,'.

The Chairman: With this it will be convenient to take the following amendments: No. 24, in page 3, line 7, leave out

    ', and had no reason to suspect,'.

No. 25, in page 3, line 11, leave out

    ', and had no reason to suspect,'.

No. 26, in page 3, line 23, leave out

    ', and had no reason to suspect,'.

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