The Labour Party will allow the advertising industry until the general
election next spring to give the Advertising Standards Authority more
clout. Changes will then be enforced if it wins power.
Nigel Griffiths, Labour’s spokesman on consumer affairs, has already
gone on record to say he wants the ASA to have the power to impose fines
on advertisers that repeatedly breach the code of practice (Campaign, 11
This week, he said: ‘The industry is being served notice. It has got
about six months to get its act together and to show that it can crack
down on repeat offenders. I am hoping that it can tackle some of the
criticisms. If it can’t, we won’t hesitate to legislate.’
The Opposition spokesman admitted that Labour would prefer to drop its
1992 general election pledge of legislation to clean up the industry.
‘The case has not been made for putting the ASA on a statutory basis,
but there is a case for giving it powers to fine if those powers are not
accepted voluntarily. It must put its house in order.’
Griffiths said he has no plans to publish a policy document and that
this week’s statement would be the basis on which the party fought the
Labour’s warning will fuel the debate in the industry about self-
regulation (Campaign, last week).
Griffiths said he was ‘giving careful consideration’ to proposals by the
Consumer’s Association, which called for the ASA to have powers ‘to fine
advertisers who contravene the code, whether deliberately or
The Consumer’s Association also said the ASA should be able to ‘oblige
advertisers who have misinformed the general public to publicise full
retractions at their own expense, giving these retractions at least
equal prominence as the original adverts’.