The use of child actors in commercials is threatened with major
disruption because of a tightening of regulations by EU bureaucrats.
As a result, agencies that want to feature child performers could face
delays in obtaining the necessary permission.
The Institute of Practitioners in Advertising is seeking a meeting with
the Department of Health and representatives of Britain’s local
authorities to prevent the system becoming bogged down in red tape.
The problem has been caused by legislation rushed through by the
Government before the summer recess and without notifying the industry
of its need to comply with the European Directive on the Protection of
Young People at Work.
Until last month, children could do commercials work for up to four days
within a six-month period without needing a licence from their local
Under the new law, all performances by children now need a licence, even
if a child only works for one day out of the year.
The changes could cause major problems because of town hall bureaucracy.
Simon Gallant, the IPA’s legal affairs director, said: ’We’ve already
had one local authority saying it needs 21 days’ notice for a licence
The Department of Health has given the IPA a written assurance that it
is sympathetic to the problem and will try to ensure that the
legislation is not rigidly enforced. But industry leaders fear future
One commentator said: ’It’s a very unsatisfactory situation and it’s
important that the Department of Health, local authorities and ourselves
agree a common approach.’