Review pledged into ‘rip-off’ phone lines

John Healey, MP
John Healey, MP
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A South Yorkshire MP’s campaign to stop ‘rip-off rate’ 0845 numbers has got ministerial support.

John Healey, MP for Wentworth and Dearne, believes it is ‘unfair’ that government high-cost telephone lines benefit from those who can least afford to pay .

Cabinet Minister Nick Hurd promised to review the use of the numbers at a Commons debate, admitting they were a ‘substantial problem’.

Mr Healey’s campaign has revealed that many government departments make huge profits from the use of the lines, with the Department of Transport admitting to making £2.5million since 2010 from 0845 calls.

The ‘telephone tax’ is being taken ‘increasingly seriously’ by the Cabinet Office, Mr Healey said.

He added: “With the National Audit Office carrying out an inquiry the Government can no longer bury their heads and carry on ripping off the public. The public deserve an answer.”

The audit is due to take place this summer.