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Retail Trade: Children

Business, Innovation and Skills written question – answered on 20th July 2011.

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

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what progress he has made in developing a retail code of practice on retailing to children; what recent discussions he has had with the British Retail Consortium on this issue; what the outcome of these discussions was; and if he will make a statement.

Photo of Mark Prisk Mark Prisk The Minister of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills

The report to Government from Reg Bailey, ‘Letting Children be Children’, on the sexualisation and commercialisation of childhood published on 6 June 2011, recommended that retailers, alongside their trade associations, should develop and comply with a voluntary code of good practice for all aspects of retailing to children and that the British Retail Consortium (BRC) should continue its work in this area as a matter of urgency and encourage non-BRC members to sign up to its code.

The Government welcome the report, which is consistent with their principles of better regulation that encourage voluntary action by business as an alternative to Government intervention. The BRC has already published a new set of guidelines on the responsible retailing of children's clothes. We consider this to be an excellent example of how industry can respond positively to public feeling.

BIS Ministers have had no recent discussion with the BRC on this issue. The Government will, however, be proactive in monitoring progress by businesses and industry to implement the Bailey report recommendations, commencing with a roundtable on 27 June 2011, chaired by the Minister of State, Department for Education, my hon. Friend Sarah Teather, who has responsibility for children and families.

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