Government backs calls to crackdown on “no-win, no-fee” ads

The Government is backing a call to curb “aggressive no-win, no-fee” advertising after a report it commissioned called for an end to the UK’s “compensation culture”.

In his report, Lord Young of Graffham condemns the advertising methods used by legal firms offering to pursue lawsuits for consumers.

He says wants the Advertising Standards Authority to crackdown on the damaging actions of such firms.

The claims management industry is thought to be worth about £300m year, with 1,500 firms spending almost £40m per year on advertising.

In a speech to the Conservative Party conference yesterday (5 October), Lord Young, who was trade secretary under Margaret Thatcher, said: “We have all seen adverts in the newspapers, on the radio and television, saying if you think you have a claim, come to us and if our solicitor agrees you will walk away with a cheque of £500, just for putting in your claim.

“And that won’t affect any amount you might be awarded. This is more than a free lottery ticket, this is a lottery where you win as you enter. What a temptation this provides to someone watching afternoon television. This is not Access to Justice – this is incitement to litigate. And it must stop.”

Elsewhere on the first day of the conference in Birmingham yesterday, Cabinet Office minster, Francis Maude reiterated the Government’s commitment to slashing marketing and advertising spend.

“We can do things very differently in future. Instead of paying over £200m to buy advertising space in the media, why shouldn’t we use publicly owned channels such as government websites to deliver public service messages?” he says.

There is currently a freeze on spending on “non-essential” campaigns unless they meet strict criteria set out by Maude’s Cabinet Office.

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