Nuisance Calls

Oral Answers to Questions — Culture, Media and Sport – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 21st April 2016.

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Photo of Bob Blackman Bob Blackman Conservative, Harrow East 12:00 am, 21st April 2016

What steps the Government is taking to reduce the number of nuisance calls.

Photo of Ed Vaizey Ed Vaizey Minister of State for Culture and the Digital Economy (Jointly with Department for Business, Innovation and Skills), Minister of State for Culture and the Digital Economy (Jointly with Department for Culture Media and Sport)

Since we published our action plan two years ago, we have taken a range of measures, including lowering the threshold for what constitutes a nuisance call and increasing co-operation between the two regulators, namely Ofcom and the Information Commissioner’s Office.

Photo of Bob Blackman Bob Blackman Conservative, Harrow East

Despite Government action, nuisance calls are a real concern to residents all over the country. What further steps can my hon. Friend take to ensure that we bar nuisance calls and prevent elderly people in particular from having to suffer this curse?

Photo of Ed Vaizey Ed Vaizey Minister of State for Culture and the Digital Economy (Jointly with Department for Business, Innovation and Skills), Minister of State for Culture and the Digital Economy (Jointly with Department for Culture Media and Sport)

This is a very important issue that annoys a great many people and frightens the elderly and vulnerable in particular. We have announced a fund to allow call-barring equipment to be given to the elderly and vulnerable, and we are about to announce the results of our consultation on calling line identification.

Photo of David Nuttall David Nuttall Conservative, Bury North

There is a real danger that increasing the small claims limit in civil court cases will lead to yet more unwanted nuisance telephone calls from claims management companies. Will my hon. Friend liaise with Ministers in the Ministry of Justice to ensure that steps are taken to prevent that from happening?

Photo of Ed Vaizey Ed Vaizey Minister of State for Culture and the Digital Economy (Jointly with Department for Business, Innovation and Skills), Minister of State for Culture and the Digital Economy (Jointly with Department for Culture Media and Sport)

My hon. Friend takes a close personal interest in this issue, and he has been very supportive. He makes an extremely important point. In my view, when Government are considering the impact of changes in legislation in any Department, they should consider the potential knock-on effect on nuisance calls. I will certainly take up his point and see whether we can make progress.