More Action on Nuisance Phone calls

As readers will know I have been campaigning on the scourge of unwanted telephone calls for some time. These nuisance phone calls are a modern day menace and after increasing the potential fines which can be imposed the government has now gone further and is to introduce a requirement that direct marketing companies provide their Calling Line Identification. It will not come into force until next month but it is another step which hopefully improve matters. I have sent out below the written statement which was issued in full.

On 12 January 2016, the Government published a consultation seeking views on a proposal to amend the Privacy and Electronic Communications (EC Directive) Regulations 2003 (the 2003 Regulations) to make it a requirement for direct marketing callers to provide Calling Line Identification (CLI). This followed a commitment by the Government to impose such a requirement, subject to consultation, during the passage of the Consumer Rights Act 2015, and forms part of the Government’s strategy to tackle the problem of nuisance calls and to protect the vulnerable and elderly in society who are most impacted by this issue.

I am today publishing the Government’s response to the consultation, a copy of which will be placed in the libraries of both Houses. The overwhelming majority of respondents to the consultation were in favour of the proposal and agreed that it would improve consumer choice and would make it easier for the regulator to take enforcement action against those who breach the rules. The consultation can also be found here.

I am therefore also laying before Parliament a statutory instrument amending the 2003 Regulations so as to implement the proposal. The requirement to provide CLI will come into force on 16 May 2016.

The Government is clear that there is no silver bullet to the problem of nuisance calls, but we are committed to working closely with regulators, industry, consumer groups and others to raise awareness and develop practical solutions to this complex issue.

DCMS Questions

Today the main question time is questions to DCMS – the Department for Culture Media and Sport.

Many times I enter the ballot for questions without success. Not surprising as, even excluding the government there are over 500 MP’s who could enter for the couple of dozen or so slots available. Today however I have been successful I both my substatntive application and my topical question, so two bites at the cherry.

My first question is about help for amateur sports clubs after the recent floods. I will raise the problems faced by Ramsbottom United FC and Ramsbottom CC. As for my topical question I plan to raise the ongoing problem of nuisance phone calls.

Nuisance phone calls

I have been campaigning against the scourge of unwanted telephone calls for some time now. It all came about ( as most things do ) from the number of  complaints I was receiving from constituents. I was receiving a steady stream of emails from constituents saying they were simply fed up of the number of unwanted phone calls they were getting.

As we get them too, constantly, I did not take much persuading they were a real nuisance. It turned out, as again is so often the case, that others were already taking up the issue in Westminster. Indeed, the Government had asked Which? to lead a ‘Nuisance Calls and Texts Task Force’. This Task Force issued its report one year ago and I attended the launch of the report in Central London.

One year on I asked yesterday in the Commons for a statement as to what progress had been made on implementing its recommendations. Which? themselves say some good progress has been made but there most recent research shows there is still a problem with nuisance calls to mobiles increasing since 2013.

More information on the nuisance calls and advice on how to deal with them is available on the Which? website here

Nuisance Calls and Texts Task Force

Yesterday evening I attended the launch of the Report from the Nuisance Calls and Texts Task Force on Consent and Lead Generation which was convened by Which? (the consumers organisation).

I have become increasingly concerned about the number of complaints I receive from people who are upset at the number of unwanted marketing calls they receive. I entirely support the ability of businesses to be able to contact people by telephone but individuals should be able to opt out of receiving these calls. There is no easy answer to this problem and both Parliament and Government has been looking at it for some time

The Task Force was established at the Request of the Department of Culture, Media and Sport in March of this year. The Report contains a number of recommendations for businesses, trade bodies and regulators. More information can be found here