The Government has pledged to oppose moves for a European-wide ban
on the advertising of children’s products.
The Government came off the fence after the Tory Opposition decided to
highlight Sweden’s calls for an EU ban as part of William Hague’s attack
on the ’unnecessary regulation’ coming from the EU.
Although ministers have expressed concern about the content of
children’s television programmes, they insist the UK will oppose
Sweden’s attempt to put an ad ban on the EU’s agenda when it holds its
presidency in 2001.
Janet Anderson, the broadcasting minister, said: ’The Government
believes that there is a place for children’s advertising within the
properly regulated framework overseen by the Independent Television
Anderson said that although she had some sympathy with demands for a ban
during the pre-Christmas ads blitz, the Government has no intention of
imposing such a ban.
A Government source added: ’This is a matter that should be left to
individual member states. We do not see a role for the EU in this
Downing Street is known to be concerned that Tory attacks on Labour’s
’nanny state’ tendencies are finding favour with some voters, and this
is thought to have influenced the Government’s hard line on the
Peter Ainsworth, the Shadow culture secretary, attacked Sweden’s plan as
’patronising’. He warned: ’It would be counterproductive, resulting in
less investment in children’s programming and leading simply to more
imports of cheap cartoons.’