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New government cash to tackle nuisance calls


Nuisance calls remains high on the governments agenda and as a result the Chancellor, George Osborne, revealed that an extra £3.5 million would be made available to the Department of Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) to clamp down on nuisance calls.

DCMS have now signalled how they intend to spend that money, on three separate projects:

1) £1.5 million for trialling the development and provision of call blocking technology. Organisations will be able to bid for funds to innovate, design and operate safe, practical and more cost effective call blocking technology. Currently, call blocking technology is expensive and not a practical option for many consumers. Moreover, the high cost prevents local authorities from making use of the technology. As such, an extra £0.5 million will be made available for agencies, charities and local authorities to trial call blocking technology for the most vulnerable consumers. It is the vulnerable who are hit hardest by nuisance calls and so reducing the damage done to these people for example, those suffering from Alzheimer’s, will have the greatest impact.

2) £1 million will be set aside for an awareness campaign about existing mechanisms to deal with nuisance calls. It’s not known quite what form this campaign will take, but it will have the aim of making consumers and businesses aware of these measures. It could be a campaign to make people aware of the Telephone Preference Service, the services of the Information Commissioner’s Office or other products and services.

3) £0.5 million will be spent on research. The government wants to better understand what types of nuisance calls are most prevalent, and their differing effects on consumers. The research will look at the actions consumers take when they’re bothered by nuisance calls, how successful those efforts are, and why others don’t take the similar actions against nuisance calls.

The DMA welcomes these measures and is delighted that the DCMS continues in its efforts to stamp down on the problem of nuisance calls. Call blocking technology has the potential to protect the most vulnerable in society and so it’s great to see this taken so seriously by the government.

This a cross-party issue, so whoever wins the general election in May should continue with the measures announced in this Parliament because nuisance calls are a big problem for much of the electorate.

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