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Scottish minister calls for more powers in fight against nuisance calls

Tuesday, March 14th 2017 by Phil Wilkinson-Jones

New powers are needed to help tackle the “growing problem” of nuisance calls, Scotland’s economy secretary has said.

Keith Brown (pictured) is calling for the directors of companies responsible for nuisance calls to be fined as well as disqualified.

The minister also wants more funding for consumer awareness projects and easier ways for people to report nuisance calls.

Mr Brown was speaking ahead of the final meeting of the Scottish Government’s Nuisance Calls Commission on Wednesday.

The commission was set up in November after a report by Which? found that consumers in Scottish cities received the highest rates of nuisance calls in the UK.

Which? and call blocking firm trueCall analysed more than 9m calls made to trueCall users between January 2013 and September 2016.

Glasgow topped a table of 18 UK cities with 51.5% of the calls received on trueCall users’ landlines classed as a nuisance. Edinburgh was second on the list with Aberdeen fourth.

“We’re already working with enforcement agencies, telecoms providers, and the makers of call blocking technology to find practical solutions that will help people protect themselves,” said Mr Brown, “and with business, to change the behaviour that leads to illegal calls in the first place.

“However, more needs to be done. That is why I am calling on the UK Government to bring forward further powers to better protect consumers and punish offenders.

'Protecting consumers'

“Although the regulation of nuisance calls remains a reserved issue, I also recognise the vast majority of UK regulators, UK businesses and people support the Scottish Government’s desire for a system that better protects our citizens from this serious issue.

“The people of Scotland deserve to see action being taken which recognises and responds to the seriousness of the problem.

“That is why I will be bringing forward an action plan outlining the commission’s proposals for protecting consumers and reducing the impact of unwanted calls in the coming months.”

Alex Neill, managing director of home services at Which?, said: “Nuisance calls continue to plague people’s everyday lives – more so in Scotland than the rest of the UK.

“After pressing for action on this modern menace and working with the Scottish Government to establish this commission, we welcome today’s commitment to take action.

“We will continue to work with the Scottish Government and regulators to tackle rogues head on.”

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