Patricia Gibson MP has welcomed a £50,000 fund announced by the SNP Government to install call-blocking technology for those most at risk from nuisance calls.
The fund is one element of a national Nuisance Calls Action Plan, launched to raise awareness and empower people to protect themselves from scam callers.
Mrs Gibson has also written to the UK Government urging them to reduce the volume of nuisance calls by taking the action it promised last year and said:
“Following the House of Commons Debate on my Ten-Minute Rule Bill on 13 September 2016, Unsolicited Marketing Communications (Company Directors), I was delighted that the UK Government agreed to fully adopt the recommendations I proposed and legislate to make directors personally responsible for their company’s actions, should it be involved in making nuisance calls. For too long, fines or sanctions have been easily avoided by companies dissolving and resurfacing using a new moniker. The UK Government agreed that from 01 April 2017, company directors would be held to account and could face personal fines of up to £500,000, should it be proven that their company acted unlawfully.
“Sadly, The Tory Government has reneged on these promises and kicked them into the long grass. Meanwhile, hundreds of thousands of people are still plagued by nuisance calls every day. Such calls often target the elderly and the vulnerable and have the potential to be very harmful.
“The SNP Government’s Action Plan contains a range of measures to raise awareness of nuisance calls, make it easier for people to identify them and take action to protect themselves. A fund to install call-blocking technology for our most vulnerable citizens is one such measure.
“Unfortunately, the power to regulate in this area lies with the UK Government. I have written to the Secretary of State for Culture to call for them to make good their promises to act and add ‘belt and braces’ by allowing people to automatically opt out of unwanted calls.”
Alex Neill, Which? Managing Director of Home Products and Services, added:
“Scots continue to receive more nuisance calls than the rest of the UK, and the SNP Government’s Action Plan will deliver positive changes to ensure people are no longer bombarded by these unwelcome calls, while we await action from the UK Government.
"Which? has long campaigned against this everyday menace that can intimidate and discourage people from answering their phones. We're delighted to help people tackle these unwanted calls."
The plan will also:
• Develop a strategy for tackling scams in general
• Update the Business Pledge with a commitment to support vulnerable customers
• Develop best practice for organisations involved with the SNP Government schemes to adhere to.