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Commercialisation and Sexualisation of Children

Education written question – answered on 7th July 2011.

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Photo of Sir David Amess Sir David Amess Conservative, Southend West

To ask the Secretary of State for Education what his policy is on implementation of the recommendations of the report of the Independent Review of the Commercialisation and Sexualisation of Childhood, Letting Children be Children; and if he will make a statement.

Photo of Sarah Teather Sarah Teather The Minister of State, Department for Education

Reg Bailey published the report of his independent review of the commercialisation and sexualisation of childhood, ‘Letting Children be Children’, on 6 June. In their response, made to Parliament as a written ministerial statement on 7 June 2011, Hansard, column 8WS, the Government made clear that they accepted and welcomed Mr Bailey's analysis and the thrust of all the recommendations he has made, which will reduce the pressure on children to grow up too fast. The Government's policy on implementation of these recommendations was also set out in the written ministerial statement.

Most of the recommendations of Mr Bailey's report are made to businesses, industry associations and the regulators. It is a matter for those organisations to decide how best to achieve the intended outcomes for each of the recommendations, although the Government look to them to see that these recommendations are implemented as fully as possible.

Mr Bailey has also recommended that the Government should consider strengthening the controls on music videos. The Department for Culture, Media and Sport will respond to this recommendation by consulting on the operation of the Video Recordings Act 1984 and 2010. The consultation will look at a range of options including consideration of whether it would be appropriate for the exemption that music videos enjoy from this legislation to be removed, and call for evidence in support of the costs and benefits of such a change.

Mr Bailey has placed the responsibility for action on businesses themselves and, if necessary, their regulators. The Government will actively monitor implementation of the recommendations, leading up to a full stock-take of progress in 18 months' time. At this point, we will consider what further measures may need to be taken to achieve the recommended outcomes, including considering statutory regulation if voluntary action has not been effective.

I have already held a meeting on 27 June with representatives of many of the major businesses and regulators concerned to discuss how they propose to take action to implement the recommendations of the Bailey review. The Prime Minister has also announced that he will hold a similar meeting in October to review progress.

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