Previous Section Back to Table of Contents Lords Hansard Home Page

Lord Clement-Jones moved Amendment No. 61:

"( ) shall consult persons appearing to him to represent the interests of persons within the advertising business,"

The noble Lord said: We now come to the issue of a statutory duty to consult. This amendment introduces a new paragraph in Clause 20 and imposes a statutory duty on the Secretary of State to consult the
2 Feb 2006 : Column GC226
advertising industry prior to any secondary legislation relating to the physical location of advertising being issued under Clause 19.

In Committee and on Report in the other place, Mr Caborn made a commitment that the advertising industry would be consulted prior to regulations being issued under Clause 19, but no changes were made to the Bill. On Report, the Government claimed that under Clause 23 the ODA had a duty to consult parties affected by Clause 19. I am not sure where that comes from since the word "consult" does not appear in that clause and, even if it did, when we are talking about an important clause such as this, the right to be consulted by the ODA, rather than the Secretary of State, would not be adequate.

Any regulations issued under Clause 19 will directly affect the advertising industry. Therefore, it is not unreasonable that it should enjoy an explicit statutory right to be consulted by the Government alongside other pertinent bodies, such as the ODA and LOCOG, which already enjoy that right under the clause. I shall not go into that discussion further because I am sure that other noble Lords—particularly the noble Lord, Lord Brooke, who was a Member of the Delegated Powers and Regulatory Reform Committee that had a lot to say on this subject when it wrote its report—will go further into the issue.

During debate in the other place, the Government accepted in principle that the advertising industry should be consulted in order to smooth the implementation of any regulations issued under Clause 19. Why not simply reflect that in the legislation by adopting the amendment? This amendment is included in other legislation, for example, in Sections 23 and 24 of the Gambling Act 2005 and Section 324 of Communications Act 2003, in which the principle of a statutory right to consultation for those affected by the legislation is accepted and contained in the legislation. The Government ought to include that in the Bill. That is what the advertising industry would like to see.

There are other aspects which the Government need to make clearer, for example, the likely length of any consultation, statutory or not, that the DCMS may conduct and the issue of technical manuals. Technical manuals form an integral part of the host city contract and the Bill is intended to give legislative effect, as the Minister was implying, to the contractual obligations entered into by the Government. But when the IOC makes further changes to the technical manual, the regulations require further amendment and further consultation would be required on those regulations. The issue of the right of consultation on the initial regulations, changes to the regulations and so on needs to be looked at, rather than simply relying on debate in this House or the other place on an affirmative motion for the regulations. The industry should be in on the ground floor in any initial regulations or change of regulations. I beg to move.

Lord Glentoran: My name is attached to Amendment No. 61 and Amendment No. 62, which is tabled in my name, does almost exactly the same thing.
2 Feb 2006 : Column GC227
I do not wish to repeat what the noble Lord, Lord Clement-Jones, has said so clearly and forcefully. I simply state that my party strongly supports these amendments. The Minister knows only too well that there is considerable concern in the advertising and marketing industry about the effect of these regulations as they stand, let alone the new regulations that will come along as time goes by. I believe that there is a great deal of willingness on the part of the industry to work with the ODA, LOCOG and the Government to achieve the best result possible without infringing on or making life difficult for anyone in particular.

To restate what the noble Lord, Lord Clement-Jones, has said, this issue needs serious reconsideration before we come to the Report stage. It would be a shame if, on Report, the opposition parties had to get their heads together on such an important issue and vote against the Government. I sincerely hope that that will not happen. I hope that we will be able to reach a compromise and that the Government will find a clear way through which is acceptable to all.

5.30 pm

Lord Brooke of Sutton Mandeville: The noble Lord, Lord Clement-Jones, with whom I am having an extremely constructive working relationship, gave a trailer that I might say something, so I feel some obligation to do so.

I will remind the Minister of the words he used at Second Reading in response to this issue, which was raised by a number of noble Lords. He said:

My impression from the Minister's response to the Delegated Powers and Regulatory Reform Committee was that he gave a similar assurance to that committee. Working on the assumption that what I have just said is accurate and that what the Minister said is accurate, I assume that at some stage the Government will bring forward a means of giving credence to the statement that they need to consult.

In his reply to Amendment No. 60, which was moved and withdrawn by the noble Lord, Lord Clement-Jones, a few moments ago, the Minister said that the Government would be consulting on the regulations. I assume that that also relates to the regulations under Clause 19 and that the assurances which were given at Second Reading and to the
2 Feb 2006 : Column GC228
Delegated Powers and Regulatory Reform Committee apply to Amendment No. 60 as well as to Amendment No. 61.

Lord Davies of Oldham: I am grateful to noble Lords for their contributions, although I would not mind just a spark of difference between them. The unity on the other side of the room has begun to terrify me in regard to the representations they have made.

I am grateful to the noble Lord, Lord Brooke, for reminding me of what I said at Second Reading because I sought to express on that occasion that we recognised that the Delegated Powers and Regulatory Reform Committee had sought assurances from us; that we had written to it and that we were grateful for its memorandum. The committee had highlighted the need for consultation with the groups affected by some of the regulations provided in the Bill, and we wrote back confirming the undertakings given by the Minister in another place and, indeed, outside Parliament. I reflected that confirmation, as faithfully as I could, when winding up the debate on Second Reading.

Of course we need to put provisions in the Bill which will control advertising and prevent ambush marketing. The obligation to do so lies with the arrangements that we made with the International Olympic Committee. All noble Lords will know how stringent the IOC is about advertising around the games.

A great deal of the advertising we are discussing is restricted to the vicinity of the games. That is why I mentioned the issue of the projection of mobile telephony close to the games. That is where it would cause a problem. We are not interfering with the vast range of activities of the advertising industry in many other respects but we do have an obligation under the bid for the games.

I can reassure noble Lords—the noble Lord, Lord Brooke, has pressed me hard on this—that we have already begun extensive dialogue with a broad range of interested stakeholders in regard to these issues. We have met representatives from the advertising industry bodies such as the Advertising Association, the Institute of Practitioners in Advertising, the Outdoor Advertising Association, the Incorporated Society of British Advertisers, the Direct Marketing Association and the Institute of Sales Promotion. Of the broadcasters, who, as we all recognise, also have a very real interest in these issues, we have met, on a number of occasions, ITV, Channel 4, five and Sky. We have also met with the advertising clearing houses, the BACC and the RACC, not to mention a range of other interested parties concerned with advertising. The Newspaper Society and ITN are notable among that group. So work is going on.

Again, if I may refer to discussions that we have had outside the Committee, the noble Lord, Lord Coe, whose work on LOCOG we all respect, gave a clear indication of the work that he had to do and how it interlocked with the Bill and some of the restrictions which were necessary. Any changes that we make to
2 Feb 2006 : Column GC229
the Bill and the legislation that we draft in terms of the regulations we need—I said earlier that the regulations will need to be drafted later—will be informed by the relationships we have established with appropriate interests outside the House. That is the only way in which we can reach an effective position in regard to this whole question.

The view that these matters should be in the Bill has been presented again today. I recognise the strength of the arguments. We are in the fullest consultation about what has been clearly identified as an important area to get right and we will fully consult on the regulations. On that basis, I hope noble Lords will recognise that their amendments would not add to the position but would complicate it.

In some respects, asking for a specific requirement in the Bill to consult with the industry when I have shown that we are already in the most extensive consultation—and have been for months—indicates that the amendments are otiose. After all, it is not only the actions I have established today which show that we are committed to this strategy but, as the noble Lord, Lord Brooke, indicated, unequivocal assurances were given at Second Reading. These followed, of course, unequivocal assurances given in the other place that we intended to work this way. We cannot conceive that advertising regulations which would work well could be constructed without all relevant interests being fully consulted.

We plan to keep in very close touch with the industry and we are already involved in extensive consultation. I maintain that these issues are best left to regulation—which, remember, will be restricted to the period of the games—and we do not need these amendments. I hope the noble Lord will accept that argument.

Next Section Back to Table of Contents Lords Hansard Home Page