Parliamentary group backs MP’s phone campaign

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A South Yorkshire MP campaigning against ‘rip-off’ telephone lines has won support of an influential committee of MPs.

The Public Accounts Committee – which examines Government ‘value-for-money criteria based on economy, effectiveness and efficiency’ – has published a report calling on the Government to stop using expensive 0845 phone lines, especially for services used by the vulnerable and poor.

John Healey, Labour MP for Wentworth and Dearne, has campaigned on the issue for more than two years.

His report, The Telephone Tax, published in May, revealed that across government nearly two thirds of phone lines were 0845.

These included telephone lies for Disability Living Allowance, Carers Allowance, Victim Support, the Bereavement Service and the Student Loans Company.

The report prompted inquiries by the National Audit Office and PAC.

Mr Healey said: “I want to see these numbers changed quickly, before more people are faced with telephone bills they can’t afford.”