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Fiona Makes Government Act on Phone Charges

Fiona welcomed plans to cut the cost of calling the Government.  On Boxing Day the Cabinet Office issued new guidance in response to a report published by the House of Commons Public accounts Committee of which Fiona is a member. The new guidance has said high-cost phone lines are “inappropriate” and cheaper alternatives must always be offered.

Fiona said, “Our Committee plays a vital role in making sure the taxpayer gets value for money. I’m proud that we have started this process which will lead to the Government abolishing premium rate lines like 0845 numbers and stop ripping off people who are making enquiries about issues from being a victim of crime to their taxes”

Currently one third of customer telephone lines across Central Government use higher rate numbers with half of those lines serving the poorest people. More than 130 million calls from the public are being charged at a rate of up to 45p per minute at an estimated total cost of £56 million a year.  And the service they receive is inadequate with lengthy and expensive delays after a called is picked up waiting for a service.

“I will continue to an active member of the Public Accounts Committee and be sure that people get good value for money from the Government and contractors.”