Clause 9 - Prohibition of Sponsorship

Tobacco Advertising and Promotion Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 4:45 pm on 6 February 2001.

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Photo of Caroline Spelman Caroline Spelman Shadow Spokesperson (Health) 4:45, 6 February 2001

I beg to move amendment No. 39, in page 4, line 24, leave out `or effect'.

Photo of Humfrey Malins Humfrey Malins Conservative, Woking

With this it will be convenient to take amendment No. 41, in page 4, line 39, at end insert—

`(c) that the purpose of what was done was to promote a tobacco product outside the United Kingdom and that the promotion of the product in the United Kingdom was incidental to that purpose and occurred only as a result of the broadcasting or publication by a third party of something in the United Kingdom for a purpose other than the promotion of a tobacco product.'.

Photo of Caroline Spelman Caroline Spelman Shadow Spokesperson (Health)

We move to a completely different subject, which we discussed only briefly on Second Reading. The problem with the clause—it is a problem that we have encountered before in the Bill—is that it does not give us a clear definition, in this case of sponsorship. A lack of clear definition may cause confusion. The word is used in many different contexts. Hon. Members use it in a parliamentary context when we talk about sponsoring a Bill: indeed, I received a good response from hon. Members on both sides when I sought sponsors for my private Member's Bill on adoption.

Sponsorship can be used to describe support for an activity, event or organisation in return for something—or not as the case may be. I do not expect anything from hon. Members in return for sponsoring my Bill, except, perhaps, that they may be present on Second Reading. Sponsorship can, but does not necessarily, give rise to an agreement—again, I have no formal agreement with the hon. Members who supported my Bill. The clause is framed in terms of a sponsorship agreement, in which a party to it makes a contribution towards something. That is one definition of sponsorship but it may not cover all aspects of sponsorship. When an agreement is struck the parties usually know what they have agreed to do under that agreement, and that is often, thought not always, confirmed in writing. Under the definition of the sponsorship agreement given in the Bill, it is not clear where any written agreement is needed. That could open a considerable loophole.

As far as I can tell, nothing in the Bill will successfully tackle the problem of product placement. Clearly when a film star is asked by a tobacco company to smoke in a film, there may be some form of agreement, but if there is no requirement for that agreement to be in writing, so that it can be confirmed or proven to exist—if, in short, the agreement is verbal—the Bill will open quite a loophole. There is no question that product placement of that kind in films has a big impact on the group that all parties seek to protect—young people. Far more effectively than coupons, bone china mugs and all the other things described earlier, visual images of young peoples' role models who are smoking has a very great impact indeed.

I am not convinced that the Government's drafted version of a sponsorship agreement is really logical. People usually know their purpose or whether they are party to an agreement, but they cannot necessarily know the results of entering into an agreement. As drafted, clause 9(1) would create an offence arising out of a result, and that is a difficult concept. I imagine that when a sponsorship agreement is struck between two parties, whether in writing or not, what is in it for the parties concerned is very much left at face value. The full effect of his or her sponsorship may not be spelled out to the individual concerned. In consequence, perhaps, without seeing the detail of the agreement, it may be difficult to judge whether that person should have known what the effect of that sponsorship agreement would be.

Photo of Mr Ernie Ross Mr Ernie Ross Labour, Dundee West

Following the scandals that have surrounded all types of sponsorship, sports stars and media personalities are not stupid. If they are signing a sponsorship agreement, they have lawyers and agents advising them. They must go into the small print of an agreement, and they must be quite clear about what they are sponsoring. The most recent example in which people discovered that they were sponsoring something that was not acceptable was the manufacture of balls used in football matches. Someone discovered that Adidas was using cheap child labour. Agents are conscious of these things. Surely it is the responsibility of the person who signs the sponsorship to find out what is entailed. That is the Government's responsibility.

Photo of Caroline Spelman Caroline Spelman Shadow Spokesperson (Health)

The hon. Gentleman's argument is predicated on the fact that something was signed, but it may not always have been signed, since the Bill contains no requirement that it should be. An agreement could be purely verbal. In such a case, it could be very unclear—and very difficult to prove in a court of law what was actually said as part of that agreement.

My desire is entirely to help the Government. I see a big loophole, and I would be the first to say that when all conventional methods of advertising are shut down, product placement remains an important instrument. As far as I can see, at the moment, we have very little control in this country. Many films are produced out of the United Kingdom. Some of the greatest blockbusters are produced in Hollywood, and are not governed by constraint of the type in the Bill, but they are shown in British cinemas up and down the land and contain strong subliminal images about tobacco and tobacco products.

We are often consumed as we look at the Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman characters—and I was sorry to hear today that they are splitting up. Non-smokers are less affected, but it is sometimes possible to watch a film all over again from the perspective of product placement, and it is extraordinary how often a big poster pops up as a backdrop to the superstars. Did they know that they would find themselves standing in front of a socking great advertisement for branded cigarettes? We do not know. Was it part of their agreement to stand in front of it? It is all very unclear and ill-defined. We want to help the Government to deal with this major loophole. There is no doubt that advertising can have a big impact on the young, who are highly susceptible to it. As drafted, however, I doubt whether the clause will be effective in practice.

Amendment No. 39 is coupled with amendment No. 41, which deals with a different problem. It is designed to strike a balance on what is achievable in terms of constraining advertising through sponsorship agreements. Under clause 9(1):

``A person who is party to a sponsorship agreement is guilty of an offence'' if the purpose or effect of the sponsorship

``is to promote a tobacco product in the United Kingdom.''

That much is clear. What happens, though, when Bernie Ecclestone is sitting in his London headquarters agreeing to a deal with Marlboro to sponsor the Monaco grand prix? If photographs from that meeting appeared in United Kingdom magazines, would it be an offence under the clause? The new subsection makes it clear that sponsorship deals negotiated in the United Kingdom that do not relate to UK events are not covered by the rule when the photographs are incidental and not expressly published for the purpose of tobacco promotion.

Surely the Government do not want to drive international businesses out of the country for fear of accidentally committing this offence in connection with overseas events broadcast in the UK. Amendment No. 41 would prevent that. Formula 1 is international business and there is no getting away from it. There are 16 races in the year and if tobacco is to be banned only in this country, its impact on the image transfer from Formula 1 to tobacco—I accept the analysis that links them, particularly with respect to the young—will, frankly, be minimal. That the glamorous image of sport transfers to tobacco products is proven by market research, but—

Photo of Caroline Spelman Caroline Spelman Shadow Spokesperson (Health)

No, I have just about finished.

One ban among 16 will have little impact. The amendment is a practical proposal and I hope that the Minister will accept it.

Photo of Yvette Cooper Yvette Cooper The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Health

The hon. Lady said that amendment No. 39 was about closing the loophole with respect to product placement in films. However, the amendment would broaden sponsorship and could create a loophole because, while the effect might be to promote a tobacco product, companies could argue that their purpose was rather to sponsor an event. If the effect is clearly to promote a tobacco product, companies should not be allowed to use that argument. That is why clause 9(1) refers to ``purpose or effect''.

Product placement in films and television programmes was mentioned. Product placement in the vast majority of television series is controlled by existing codes of practice. The placement of tobacco goods in a film, or elsewhere that might not be covered by the codes of practice under television and broadcasting legislation, will be covered by sponsorship and by the clause. An agreement between a broadcaster and a tobacco company to use particular tobacco goods in a film or drama with the intention or effect of promoting that company's brands would be caught by the Bill.

Photo of Caroline Spelman Caroline Spelman Shadow Spokesperson (Health)

What happens in the event of a foreign film? How would a British Government make sanctions stick on two American parties—an actor and a tobacco company—who had, perhaps only verbally, struck an agreement about product placement? Will we have censorship in our cinemas?

Photo of Yvette Cooper Yvette Cooper The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Health

There are two separate questions: is the agreement verbal or written, and is it an international film? First, the Bill does not specify that the sponsorship agreement must be written; it could be a verbal agreement. If we specified that the agreement had to be written, people would simply make oral agreements, because it would be clear that we were providing an obvious opt-out from the ban.

The second point, about international films, is more difficult, because we do not have extra-territorial jurisdiction on the matter. We do not have the power to prosecute if there is an agreement between a US tobacco company and a Hollywood film for tobacco placement. Distribution and broadcasting of the film in question by persons in the UK would not be caught under clause 9, because no one in the UK, as far as we knew, was party to the sponsorship agreement with which the clause deals.

There is a question about the role that the British Board of Film Classification should play. The matter might most properly be pursued with the board, rather than through the Bill, which does not set out extra-territorial jurisdiction on the matter.

Photo of Caroline Spelman Caroline Spelman Shadow Spokesperson (Health)

If an actor strikes a verbal agreement with a tobacco company, there is nothing in writing and they are challenged as having committed an offence, the defence may be that the actor smoked on screen purely because the character was a smoker and that the purpose was not primarily to promote tobacco. Surely we are about to create an enormous loophole. I am interested to hear what the situation would be with the British Board of Film Classification, because it is important that we relate that issue to the Bill. We must ensure that we do not just create a big loophole.

Photo of Yvette Cooper Yvette Cooper The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Health

The Bill would cover a sponsorship agreement between a British film and a British company. Clause 9(2) says:

``A sponsorship agreement is an agreement under which a party to it makes a contribution towards something, whether the contribution is in money or takes any other form (for example, the provision of services or of contributions in kind).''

I am not clear what the hon. Lady is proposing that would prevent the possibility of an individual, whether an actor or a film director, making a covert deal with a tobacco company that was against the law, that was an offence under this Bill and where they were effectively committing an offence but were not caught doing so. If she has a suggestion as to how it might be possible to amend the Bill to identify more easily situations where that was occurring, then I would look at those proposals. It would be worse to specify that it had to be a written agreement because then we would be encouraging people to avoid making written agreements. Even where there was clear evidence of their having accepted a contribution from a tobacco industry or some benefit from a tobacco industry, we would still not be able to prosecute them under the Bill if we referred only to written agreements. That is why it is right to talk about sponsorship agreements but, of course, if there is a written agreement, it is obviously much easier to find the proof on which to base the prosecution.

The hon. Lady asked about international films. This Bill covers who can be prosecuted in the UK. We do not have extra-territorial jurisdiction so that limits what we are able to do with Hollywood films. The BBFC has responsibility for assessing Hollywood films as they come into this country. It is for the BBFC, rather than this Bill, to deal with how we should control foreign films entering the UK.

Photo of Peter Luff Peter Luff Opposition Whip (Commons)

I am genuinely interest in this matter. What action can the BBFC take? This is not a Bill to protect minors from the effects of advertising, it is a Bill to ban tobacco advertising. If a film has quite blatant product placement—I think it was a Superman film which had blatant tobacco advertising, with a Marlboro van crashing in one scene—and a large section of the film can be said to constitute an advertisement, is the Minister saying the BBFC should refuse to issue a certificate for that film because it judges it to be too much of an advertisement for tobacco to be shown in a UK cinema?

Yvette Cooper

: That is not a matter for this Bill and not a matter that we should discuss in this Committee. We could have other discussions with the BBFC, particularly about films for children, but those are separate issues. I have anxieties about censorship and about freedom of artistic expression, which I made clear on the Second Reading. The aim of this Bill is not to prevent artistic expression. The hon. Gentleman raises legitimate issues to explore, but they are not covered under the scope of this Bill.

I return to an issue that is covered under the scope of this Bill—amendment No. 41, which refers to whether or not, if the purpose is to promote a product outside the UK, somebody could be caught by what was done by a third party incidental to the agreement that resulted in the product being promoted in this country. That is an interesting issue. Let us go through the occasions where this might occur. First, if someone had a sponsorship agreement with an event outside the UK, which was broadcast in the UK, it would not be prevented by this Bill because, as we are likely to discuss when we consider clause 11, this Bill does not cover broadcasting. Secondly, if it were a question of a news report of a particular event that took place abroad, that would not be covered by the Act because we would be talking about news reporting rather than a promotion.

If the question is whether a third party publishes a magazine, or puts it on the internet, or publishes promotional material about an event that took place abroad where there was a sponsorship agreement, if the original company could not have foreseen it, or had no reason to suspect, it has a defence under 9(a) and 9(b). The amendment tabled by the hon. Member for Meriden (Mrs. Spelman) is unnecessary. However, it is important that we include anything that could be considered the deliberate promotion of coverage of an event that took place abroad and where the third party might operate in conjunction with the original company or where it could have foreseen that the consequences of their sponsorship agreement abroad would be to promote the tobacco product in this country too.

Photo of Caroline Spelman Caroline Spelman Shadow Spokesperson (Health) 5:15, 6 February 2001

May I put another example to the Minister? If it continues to be legal to advertise tobacco products on Formula 1 cars, helmets and clothing, what about children's dinky toys? The traditional manufacturer of such toys is Hornby—[Hon. Members: ``Corgi.''] I thank male Members for helping me on that. I was not a great one for such toys myself. How would such toys be regarded? They could carry the logo of the tobacco manufacturer. Are they all to be deleted from the British toy market and to be sold in their true colours only abroad?

Photo of Yvette Cooper Yvette Cooper The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Health

If a toy being sold in the country were itself an advertisement for a tobacco product, it would rightly be caught by the Bill. We would all be disturbed by the idea of a Bill that set out to ban tobacco advertising and promotion, with particular concerns about children, but permitted adverts to be splayed all over children's toys. That is a legitimate concern. If that is the kind of thing that the hon. Lady wishes to exclude—

Photo of Humfrey Malins Humfrey Malins Conservative, Woking

Order. We are dealing with an amendment concerning sponsorship agreements. Although it is permissible to mention other matters in passing, I hope that we can stay within the confines of the amendment before the Committee.

Photo of Yvette Cooper Yvette Cooper The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Health

If the purpose is to exclude such promotion because it is incidental, that would reinforce our objection to the amendment. That is exactly the kind of advertising or promotion that should be included.

The clause is indeed about sponsorship, Mr. Malins, whereas the earlier clauses referred to advertising. Just as when we talked about film, television and other kinds of media promotions, if the film involves blatant advertising of tobacco products, it would be covered by the Bill whether it was made in the UK, the US or any other country. Although the original makers of the film might not be covered by the Bill, because they were in the US and we do not have extra-territorial jurisdiction, the distributors of the film would be covered. We were talking about examples that are not covered explicitly by advertising, but that we are covering by sponsorship. Sponsorship is not covered by the Bill if it is a non-UK film and the distributors are not covered by something that is about sponsorship as opposed to advertising. I hope that that explanation clarifies clause 9 and the amendments.

Photo of Caroline Spelman Caroline Spelman Shadow Spokesperson (Health)

I am not satisfied that we have dealt adequately with this grey area. I understand the rationale for not insisting that sponsorship agreements are in writing and I accept that it might drive the agreements underground. I suspect that many of them are informal agreements anyway. Their precise effect on the market is probably never discussed in great detail with the parties to the sponsorship agreement. If I am correct in the way that I understand that these things are constructed, I suspect that one party is most interested in the sum of money that it will receive in return for such an agreement.

I do not feel that we have been left with a clear idea of how effective this clause is likely to be. I am sure the Minister will agree that, in terms of smoking prevalence among young women, the most damage is done by a Kate Moss, for example, strolling down a catwalk smoking a cigarette. Furthermore, if it is a clearly identifiable brand, that increases the level of damage. The hon. Member for Rother Valley (Mr. Barron) is shaking his head, but I can assure him that market research has shown that young women in particular, who aspire to the kind of figure that Kate Moss has—the opportunity for which has unfortunately long eluded female members of my age—perceive a film or pop star of that status smoking as an indicator to a way towards achieving that perfect shape. We are left with quite a grey area on this point, and one that is quite difficult to clear up, but there is no question but that we shall see a rise in product placement where more conventional types of advertising are closed down.

It was certainly not the purpose of our amendment to create a loophole under this whole discussion on sponsorship—quite the reverse. Equally, we are trying to be fair and realistic about what it would be reasonable to expect of the parties to the agreement. It is still quite hard for people to see what the ultimate effect of some of their actions can be. However, if, in the opinion of the Minister, the removal of the words ``or effect'' will just enlarge a loophole, it would be right to withdraw the amendment if it would just enlarge the loophole. When we come to clause 11, we shall be discussing more precisely the whole position of broadcasting, and that will be a tricky subject, and one difficult to manage. It might be better if we withdrew amendment No. 41 and had a more focused discussion on broadcasting methods later.

Photo of Humfrey Malins Humfrey Malins Conservative, Woking

Order. We are debating amendment No. 39.

Photo of Humfrey Malins Humfrey Malins Conservative, Woking

Indeed, but amendment No. 39 is the lead amendment and that is the only one that may be withdrawn with leave of the Committee. Should that happen, the other would fall.

Photo of Caroline Spelman Caroline Spelman Shadow Spokesperson (Health)

Thank you for that correction, Mr. Malins. We shall leave discussion of amendment No. 41. I wish to place on the record that, as with the matter of internet service providers—this is a message to noble Members in another place as much as anything—with the time available to us, we remain unsure that the loopholes concerning sponsorship have been closed by the wording of the clause. They may wish to return to that matter. We accept that our amendments would not achieve our objective of trying to bring more precision to this clause and, for that reason, I beg to ask leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Photo of Humfrey Malins Humfrey Malins Conservative, Woking

We now come to amendment No. 40.

Mr. Luff rose—

Photo of Caroline Spelman Caroline Spelman Shadow Spokesperson (Health)

I beg to move, amendment No. 40, in page 4, line 27, after first `contribution', insert `in the course of business'

We missed our Whip this morning, and I got myself into some trouble, but now he is here. We are very glad to see my hon. Friend the Member for Mid-Worcestershire (Mr. Luff) back this afternoon. Since anyone reading Hansard might be concerned for his health and welfare, I am pleased to record that he is back with us.

Amendment No. 40 deals with a slightly separate subject area. The prohibition of sponsorship agreements in clause 9 is not limited to activities that are carried out in the course of business. In that respect, it is unlike tobacco advertisements in clause 2 and free distributions in clause 8, which are limited to activities carried out in the course of business. Agreements that will have no commercial effect will be caught by the definition of the sponsorship agreement in clause 9(2).

Two scenarios illustrate the absurdity of the present provision. First, if a person agreed to contribute cigarettes or cigars for guests who were smokers at a local football club dinner, both contributor and host could be liable to prosecution. That is similar to the difficulties posed by the corporate entertaining examples that I would like the Minister to address. Secondly, if a private club organised a cigar tasting, all subscription-paying members of that club would be guilty of an offence under subsection (1). The clause can be clarified by inserting the words

``in the course of business'', which would make it consistent with other parts of the Bill. The amendment is relatively straightforward, but is designed to make the Bill clearer and more workable.

Photo of Yvette Cooper Yvette Cooper The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Health

I accept the principle behind the amendment. At every stage, we have tried to distinguish between what an individual might do and what would be done in the course of a business. There is no intention to prosecute individuals who may choose to sponsor particular events. We have distinguished in the clause between what individuals do as a matter of choice, even if we may not like it, and what is done in the course of business. I ask the hon. Lady to withdraw her amendment, so that we can consider what the exact wording should be to ensure that the clause complies with the intention of the rest of the Bill.

Photo of Caroline Spelman Caroline Spelman Shadow Spokesperson (Health)

That is very helpful. I will withdraw the amendment on the understanding that the Minister accepts the spirit in which it was made, and will find wording that reflects the distinction and makes the clause consistent with other parts of the Bill. That will be music to the ears of members of people from all parties, as individuals who have an interest in tobacco products. I beg to ask leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

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

Photo of Mr Ian Bruce Mr Ian Bruce Conservative, South Dorset 5:30, 6 February 2001

The Government are in danger of creating a complication that they did not intend. There is an understanding that advertising is acceptable if wholesalers and manufacturers are advertising to sellers of tobacco. By not defining sponsorship, something that is considered to be promotion under clause 4 could also be caught as sponsorship. For example, it is not unusual for a tobacco company to have an after-dinner speaker, possibly a famous person, at a conference of its sales agents. That individual will be paid a sum of money that could certainly be regarded as sponsorship. Would it be an offence for an individual, as part of that sponsorship agreement, to give a speech helping to promote tobacco products to the retailers? That sort of marketing activity is widespread. Perhaps the Minister, in trying to help my hon. Friend the Member for Meriden to ensure that the activity concerned would have to be conducted in the course of business, would consider a different definition in clause 9, of who is being sold to, or for whom the sponsorship is designed.

We should also refer to clause 18, which relates back to clause 9 for certain international events. It seems wholly illogical that tobacco promotion through sponsorship is to be allowed, for a period of time, if it is connected to an international event. Either we think it wrong to have sponsored events that deal with tobacco promotion, or we do not. The fact that the promotion is connected to an international sporting event should make no difference.

I can only assume that the Prime Minister, and his colleagues, having accepted £1 million from Bernie Ecclestone—even though they had to give it back—promised Mr. Ecclestone that they would continue to support him, and have stuck to that promise. That is one sort of definition of an honest politician—once bought, he stays bought.

I am worried about some things that may be excluded, but which we might think it good for tobacco companies to do. We should be telling tobacco companies that they are causing ill health and should be putting money into research to allow people to be cured, or creating a situation in which smoking tobacco would not be a health hazard. That sort of sponsorship activity would put the tobacco companies in a good light and would help them to improve their image. But it would also give them promotion, and is therefore banned by the clause.

Tobacco companies set up charitable foundations: it is good for their image. That is why companies whose first requirement is to make profits for their shareholders give money to charity. It may be that the tobacco industry is doing things that are good for the health of the nation, but which would be banned. We may be sending the message that the companies can, if they can get their advertising and promotion through the Bill's loopholes, do harm, but that the Government will make sure that anything positive that they might do is banned. Not only would the tobacco companies be clobbered, but so would the charities that would receive money in sponsorship deals to look into tobacco diseases. It is a horrible thought that a researcher receiving money from a charitable trust to examine how to do away with the harmful effects of tobacco might be caught by the Bill.

I have another, perhaps self-interested, point. Mine is very much a sailing constituency—a Royal Yachting Association centre of excellence is being set up in Portland. We organise many international sailing events. Volvo and BT are big sponsors, but the tobacco industry is also involved in sponsorship. It is extraordinary to think that we can tell tobacco companies that they can still sponsor events held in France, which are televised and reported, but that UK sport must have that business taken away and sent elsewhere. We need an even playing field. We need to ensure that sponsorship money is not spent elsewhere, so that it takes events away from the UK. The Government owe it to everyone, not just those who have paid £1 million—and got it back—to make sure that people are not disadvantaged simply because they want to do their work in the UK.

I want to put some dictionary definitions on the record, because the Minister keeps talking about them. My hon. Friend the Member for Meriden was right; she turned to me when she smilingly sought sponsorship for her Bill, and I wrote back to her. I do not know whether I am on her list, because she was overwhelmed by colleagues who wanted to be sponsors of her Bill, and that is what sponsorship is about.

The first definition of ``sponsor'' in the compact Chambers Dictionary—I cannot carry a bigger one around with me—is:

``one who gives his word that another will do something act in a certain way.''

The second definition is:

``godfather or godmother.''

We had better make sure that we are not godfather or godmother to someone who is a smoker. A further definition is:

``one who makes himself responsible for e.g. the introduction of a law.''

That, in fact, is the definition we had from the Minister.

It is only when we reach definition number four that we find what the Government are going for in the Bill. It is:

``a business firm that pays for a radio or television programme and is allowed time to advertise''.

The fifth definition is:

``one who agrees to contribute towards the cost of an event etc. or to a charity if someone else performs some task.''

We understand that the final two definitions are those that the Government intend for the Bill, but I do not think they have defined their terms sufficiently clearly because the other three types of sponsorship might inadvertently be caught, and I know that the Government would not want that to happen.

Photo of Kevin Barron Kevin Barron Labour, Rother Valley

I would like to try to answer the points that the hon. Member for South Dorset has just made about the dictionary definition of sponsorship. First, both he and the hon. Member for Meriden have said on this clause, as on many others, that there is a loophole. The hon. Member for South Dorset said that there was a complication that the Government did not perhaps intend. Given that the Conservatives declined to give the Bill a Second Reading, they should be quite happy with the Bill as presently constructed, because it would be ineffective if we believed what they say.

On sponsorship, does my hon. Friend the Minister agree that the Bill is intended to stop sponsorship that relates to tobacco products? I would like turn to Silk Cut. The hon. Member for South Dorset said that there are no names on Silk Cut advertisements, just a large silk cloth on a stage, with a tear in it, and that we all know what that means. Let me refer again to the appendices in the Health Committee report on defining sponsorship of tobacco products. The report considered the links between sponsorship and advertising. As I said earlier, those links can become very blurred when we look around the issue. It is very difficult to define that in a Bill without making it a one-clause Bill that says, ``X promotes, advertises or sponsors tobacco products directly or indirectly''. Definition is very difficult.

Let me turn to how sponsorship is designed to direct the attitudes of young people, perhaps not necessarily toward a single product, but towards a brand of tobacco products. Some evidence in the Select Committee report was submitted by a company called M & C Saatchi, with which I think most of us are familiar. It related to what Silk Cut did in night clubs in the UK—the Leadmill in Sheffield was one such venue—a few years ago, and to what was being done in universities up and down the UK. The evidence relates to what I think was called the Silk Cut renaissance tour, and I want to quote from a brief published on 7 May 1996 on the sponsorship of those events. It said:

``Silk Cut is actually a cool brand to be seen smoking because it is enabling more Renaissance club nights... Therefore the sponsorship advertising will need to communicate the relationship between Silk Cut and Renaissance by featuring the extensive list of gigs and by appealing to their self-image to give them some defensive ammunition.''

That is interesting, because it shows that tobacco companies target young people.

Young people, by their nature, are not easily taken for a ride. They do not easily latch on to things. The hon. Member for South Dorset mentioned billposter sites that do not even tell one what brand they refer to; but an image is shown, and an inquiring mind can work out what it is. Inquiring minds are likely to be younger rather than older.

Let me quote further from M & C Saatchi's evidence:

``Urban Venturers: Aged between 18-30, students/graduates just out of university, short of money but spend all they have on good nights out. They are very advertising literate, and consequently very wary of big brands latching on to aspects of their lifestyle and exploiting them. To this end Silk Cut needs to complement the Renaissance imagery in an intriguing and stylish way.''

That shows how companies sponsor events. They do not put everything up front, but use images to promote their products without actually saying, ``Please smoke Silk Cut cigarettes; you are of an age when you ought to be doing that.'' At some events, free products are given out as well, so it is not always the case that there is no direct link with the product that the companies are promoting. That is just one case in which the sponsorship was directed at young people at gigs and events, and where that sponsorship complemented the advertising and vice versa.

The hon. Member for South Dorset talked about his windjammer—or whatever it was.

Photo of Kevin Barron Kevin Barron Labour, Rother Valley

No. I will finish what I am saying and then the hon. Gentleman can get to his feet. Silk Cut sponsored a boat for the Whitbread yacht race, which had a Silk Cut emblem on it, and I can quote from a document that advertisers used, which states:

``Silk Cut is sponsoring a boat in the Whitbread yacht race and, therefore, is actually quite a masculine, adventurous brand.''

Again, that document refers to the promotion of the brand to people who watch racing. I do not think that racing is watched by young people in particular, but I am not sure. My constituency could not be further from the sea. We have some country parks with water sports, but there is not much in the way of Whitbread yacht racing in my area.

Let me turn to the Saatchi brief of 1996, which came to light during the investigations. It was headed ``Why we are advertising'' and said:

``Silk Cut are sponsoring a boat, captained by Laurie Smith, in the next Whitbread Round the World yacht race. In order to get maximum publicity from this event they want to place `announcement' ads in all national newspapers that run editorial on the race—to appear next to, or near, the editorial.''

Again, we can see how sponsorship of an event can be promoted far more widely than the windjammer or the name on the side of a yacht. Events are promoted right into our national media so that Silk Cut can be linked with yacht racing. I do not know which newspapers have editorials on yacht racing—perhaps quite a few in the constituency of the hon. Member for South Dorset, but very few in mine. That is how sponsorship is used to advertise and promote a product.

Photo of Mr Ian Bruce Mr Ian Bruce Conservative, South Dorset 5:45, 6 February 2001

The hon. Gentleman quotes some of the things that I said, but he has completely missed the point. I told the Committee that the voluntary agreement that Silk Cut had was in my view easier to police, because the company was policing itself.. Under the voluntary agreement, it was easier to keep that brand name off the television screens and to ensure that Silk Cut jackets were not available to the television cameras either.

I do not dispute the fact that sponsorship by tobacco companies is intended to promote cigarettes. If the hon. Gentleman had listened carefully to my previous speech, he would know that we were trying to achieve exactly the same type of prohibitions on advertising as on sponsorship. We should not get involved in a confusing discussion about the difference between the two, which again provides enormous loopholes.

Photo of Kevin Barron Kevin Barron Labour, Rother Valley

I did not want to misunderstand the hon. Gentleman. I think that I know what he is saying now. Silk Cut was probably much better at screening as regards sponsorship and the national media than other companies have been.

I take the hon. Gentleman back to the first sitting, when he said:

``The great thing about a voluntary agreement, is that when one tobacco manufacturer finds a way round the agreement and decides to go off in a different direction, the Minister can pick up the phone, talk to the Tobacco Manufacturers Association and say that what the manufacturer is doing is harmful and the Government are worried.''—[Official Report, Standing Committee A, 30 January 2001; c. 20.]

I would much rather have the agreement in statute, which is what the Committee is about, so that a Minister does not have to pick up the phone when people breach codes that they have agreed in principle to stick to. That situation has gone on for many years, and it is about time that it ended, which is what the Bill is about.

My final point is also about the connection between sponsorship and advertising and/or promotion. When the Health Committee took evidence last year on the tobacco industry and the health risks of smoking, the advertising agency CDP—which is one of the top five advertisers in the country—submitted a memo dated 20 January 1998 from Barry Jenner to Rupert Pyrah. It talked about what had happened the night before, when Formula 1 racing cars had appeared on the news because a new racing car was being promoted. The small faxed memo says:


As I'm sure you are aware there was excellent coverage of the new Jordan car last night on both the Nine O'Clock News and the News at Ten. The respective All Men TVRs— that must be industry jargon—

for the bulletins were 11.8 and 14.4.''

I assume that that refers to the seconds during which the images were on the national news on our television screens. The memo goes on to say:

``If we assume that the coverage equated to 60''— again, I think that that relates to the exposure time on television, with which I am not familiar; the hon. Gentleman can tell me about it in a few minutes—

commercial on each station, I've estimated the equivalent advertising value to be £185,000. When the value of additional news spots on Channel 4, Channel 5 and Sky are added in, I expect the figure would exceed £250,000.

Not bad to start off with!''

That is a classic example. Sponsorship in the form of emblems and names on Formula 1 cars takes place not only when we are watching a Formula 1 race, but even when Formula 1 cars are launched and are in our national media. They are on the news. ``News at Ten'' does not exist any more—[Hon. Members: ``It is back'']. I do not have the precise ratings for ``News at Ten'' or the ``Nine O'Clock News'', but they are high. Buying time in them gives real added value, particularly on the BBC, which does not have adverts. We have clear evidence that the advertising agencies promoting such sponsorship know exactly how to get exposure for tobacco products.

The growth in tobacco sponsorship in Britain, particularly in sports, took off when we decided, many years ago, to stop advertising cigarettes on national television channels. Sport became the recipient of that sponsorship, whether it was a case of Benson and Hedges cricket or Formula 1 racing. That was another way of getting tobacco promoted in our national media. The Wilson Government, which came to office in 1964, introduced a voluntary code, but it soon became clear that people were getting round it. Companies decided that they had to accept the ban on television advertising, but looked for ways round it, as the hon. Member for South Dorset said at our first sitting. It is in the nature of tobacco companies to do whatever they can to keep their products in our minds.

Photo of Mr Ian Bruce Mr Ian Bruce Conservative, South Dorset

I have been so impressed by the hon. Gentleman that I make him a pledge that when he calls for a vote against clause 18, which allows Formula 1 advertising to continue until 2006, I will support him—as he supported my early-day motion when I arrived in the House. I hope that I can rely on him to call for such a vote.

Photo of Kevin Barron Kevin Barron Labour, Rother Valley

That is tempting, but I will leave clause 18 until we get to it. The only thing that I have to say to the hon. Gentleman is that the organisers of Formula 1 have said that they could bring an end to sponsorship more quickly. No amendments seem to have been tabled on that, otherwise we could have debated it. However, we will cross that bridge when we come to it.

Photo of Kevin Barron Kevin Barron Labour, Rother Valley

No, I think that the hon. Gentleman has helped me enough.

A few years ago, litigation against tobacco companies started to be successful, initially in the United States. We have become more concerned about tobacco promotion. Parliamentarians on the Select Committee considered a mass of evidence before producing the report last year. We can now see that people have for years been getting round the voluntary codes because they do not want to be restricted. If we were talking about food or some other product, people might say, ``There's no harm done, is there?'' However, we have to keep remembering that—difficult though it is for many people to accept—every day, 300 of our fellow citizens in this tiny country die early as a result of tobacco-related diseases. If we had been at war for the past 20 years and losing 300 people every day, there would be a lobby in this place and many others against it. By including sponsorship in the legislation, the Government are going some way towards stopping the promotion of tobacco products and preventing people getting round voluntary codes, as they have been doing for decades.

Photo of Yvette Cooper Yvette Cooper The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Health

The clause is extremely important. My hon. Friend the Member for Rother Valley is right that sponsorship has been a way of increasing what is effectively advertising and promotion of tobacco products through what the tobacco companies clearly regard as a powerful way of communicating their message to smokers and potential smokers. Subsection (1) sets out that

``A person who is party to a sponsorship agreement is guilty of an offence if the purpose or effect of anything done as a result of the agreement is to promote a tobacco product'' and subsection (2) sets out a clear definition of a sponsorship agreement. The clause does not ban companies from making donations. It does not ban them from being good corporate citizens and donating money to charity or to events. It simply bans them from promoting tobacco products as a result.

The hon. Member for South Dorset gave the example of a tobacco company that wanted to donate to a charity in order to fund some health research. If a company wants to donate to a charity to promote health research, let it. However, we must be slightly cynical about its interest in research into, for example, a cure for lung cancer if the price of its donation towards research is the promotion of its tobacco products, which cause the disease. Such promotion and sponsorship should not be permitted under the Bill.

It is true that we cannot ban international sponsorship. However, we can and should work with our European partners to achieve a Europe-wide ban. We can also work with the World Health Organisation to try to reduce world-wide sponsorship, particularly of events. I think that we will have some opportunity to work with international partners and colleagues on that. It is reasonable to require UK sporting, artistic and other events to find other sources of sponsorship.

The Government set out their intention from the beginning in order to allow time for sports to find alternative sources of sponsorship. The bottom line remains that sponsorship of events for the sake of promoting tobacco products must stop because it is a powerful way of promoting tobacco products and smoking. My hon. Friend the Member for Rother Valley is right. When the health consequences are 120,000 deaths each year, such a major form of advertising should be prevented.

Question put and agreed to.

Clause 9 ordered to stand part of the Bill.